Alleged gunman in fatal Lyft robbery pleads not guilty, Isiah Greene’s murder retrial lingers

Andrew Alston

Andrew Alston

The alleged gunman in last November’s fatal Lyft robbery has pleaded not guilty to all charges as the state made a motion Wednesday seeking to keep him locked up indefinitely.

Fresh after Tuesday’s high-profile arrest, 39-year-old Andrew Alston made his first appearance in court Wednesday via video conference and told a judge he understands the charges against him and understands his rights as a defendant.

Alston has been charged with being an accomplice to felony murder, robbery and weapons offenses in connection with the murder of Amber Dudley, 27, of Collingswood. Public defender Jessica Lyons said her client Alston entered a plea of not guilty on all complaints against him.

Alston is the alleged gunman who fired a shot while robbing passengers of a Lyft rideshare service in Trenton on the night of Nov. 30, 2016. Co-defendants Kasey DeZolt, 32, and Dominique Richter, 31, were arrested last month as alleged accomplices to the murder of Dudley.

New bail reform procedures in New Jersey have abolished monetary bails in favor of a system that allows freshly arrested defendants to be released from jail with special conditions pending the outcome of the case. But defendants charged with serious offenses such as murder can be denied pre-trial release and remain detained indefinitely if a judge deems that appropriate.

With Alston being an alleged killer, Mercer County prosecutors on Wednesday made clear they want him to remain locked up in jail pending resolution of the case, which could drag on for months or years before it finally gets resolved with a conviction or acquittal.

As such, the prosecutors and public defender have agreed to have Alston appear in court next Tuesday for a detention hearing that would determine whether he would be released from custody pre-trial with special conditions or remain incarcerated indefinitely.

Superior Court Judge Peter Warshaw is scheduled to oversee Alston’s detention hearing next Tuesday at the Mercer County Criminal Courthouse. If the judge determines Alston is a high flight risk or if the judge determines there is no condition of release that would safeguard the public from Alston, he would most certainly order the defendant to be detained indefinitely at the Mercer County Correction Center.

Alston’s public defender made a discovery request Wednesday seeking to obtain evidence that the state has against her client.

Isiah Greene

In other court action, a 12-member jury on Wednesday still could not reach a verdict in Isiah Greene’s murder retrial. Greene, 23, of Trenton, is accused of shooting and killing 24-year-old city man Quaadir “Ace” Gurley at the city’s Donnelly Homes housing complex in the early morning hours of July 21, 2013.

Isiah Greene

Isiah Greene

During deliberations Wednesday afternoon, the jury stepped into Superior Court Judge Anthony Massi’s courtroom for several minutes to listen to prior witness testimony in the case of an emergency medical technician, which the jurors requested.

The jury will continue with its fourth full day of deliberations Thursday morning behind closed doors at the criminal courthouse. Greene’s initial trial in October 2015 ended in a hung jury and his retrial may end in the same way at the rate things are going.

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