Jury finds triggerman Randy Washington guilty of murder

Randy Kareem Washington

Randy Kareem Washington

Violent gunman Randy K. Washington was not physically present in the courtroom Thursday morning when a jury announced it had found him guilty of first-degree murder and weapons offenses.

Now a convicted killer who faces 30 years to life in prison, Washington last week showed his wild side when he allegedly attacked his public defender during his murder trial. Seven days later, the jury handed down the guilty verdicts.

Indeed, the compelling evidence in the case left all 12 jurors firmly convinced beyond a reasonable doubt that Washington is the triggerman who shot and killed 64-year-old Silas Johnson in Trenton near the intersection of Market Street and the Route 1 overpass on the morning of Oct. 29, 2014.

“I am grateful that the jury took the time they needed to evaluate the evidence and come to the conclusion they did,” Mercer County Assistant Prosecutor Stacey Geurds told The Trentonian on Thursday.

Washington, 36, of Trenton, was arrested in court last Thursday on allegations he attacked his public defender Jessica Lyons shortly after the jury dismissed for deliberations. The defense attorney suffered multiple facial lacerations around her eye and was taken by ambulance to Capital Health Regional Medical Center for treatment, according to the Mercer County Sheriff’s Office.

Like Washington, Lyons also did not physically appear in the courtroom on Thursday. Instead, state public defender Nicole Carlo represented Washington as his stand-in attorney.

Prior to the jury’s verdict, Washington was being held at the Mercer County Correction Center on $1 million cash bail. “That bail is revoked now that he has been convicted and there is a presumption of incarceration,” Mercer County Superior Court Judge Darlene Pereksta said on Thursday.

Pereksta thanked the jurors for their service and thanked Carlo for standing in as Washington’s attorney.

The jury found Washington guilty of murder, possession of a weapon for an unlawful purpose, unlawful possession of a handgun, resisting arrest by flight, and obstructing the administration of law, while finding him not guilty of resisting arrest by force.

Geurds and Mercer County Assistant Prosecutor Laura Sunyak worked together in tandem to prosecute Washington for the murder of Silas Johnson.

On the morning of Oct. 29, 2014, Washington got on a River LINE train in Beverly and Johnson got on that same train in Florence. As the light-rail train was approaching Trenton, Washington texted his girlfriend saying, “I’m gonna get this old head when he gets off,” according to prosecutors.

Shortly after both men got off the train, Washington grabbed Johnson, threw him to the ground, engaged in a struggle with the victim and then fired two lethal shots into Johnson about 10:12 a.m. Washington fled from the scene, but police tracked him down and arrested him later that morning for the murder.

One bullet ripped through Johnson’s left thigh and the other one struck him in the torso, traveled through his body, pierced his heart and tore his aorta. He died from loss of too much blood, prosecutors said, citing a medical examiner’s report.

In addition to murdering Johnson, the state also accuses Washington of murdering George Jamison, 43, who was shot and killed July 30, 2014, while sitting on a bus stop bench in Trenton. Prosecutors further allege that Washington committed five separate robberies in the capital city between July 2014 and October 2014.

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