Alleged Trenton killer implicated by 2 witnesses, cellphone data

Alleged gunman Leroy Tutt maintains his innocence, but two cooperating witnesses and cellphone tower data have implicated him in the June 30 murder of 19-year-old Nebate Anderson.

Leroy Tutt

Leroy Tutt

Tutt, 30, of Trenton, has been jailed without bail since getting arrested Aug. 5. He is accused of shooting and killing Anderson in Trenton’s North Ward in broad daylight.

“Mr. Tutt has potential alibi witnesses,” public defender Nicole Carlo said at a recent court proceeding, adding her client “adamantly maintains his innocence.”

An alibi witness is a person who can testify that a defendant was somewhere other than the crime scene when it occurred. Police reviewed cellphone communications data and “confirmed that Leroy Tutt’s cellular telephone was in the general area of Sanford Street during the incident,” according to court documents, but Carlo said the cell tower data “is not a link to the homicide.”

Trenton Police were dispatched to Sanford Street about 1:48 p.m. June 30 on a report of shots fired and located Anderson lying in the street between two vehicles. While on scene, police detectives received phone calls from “concerned citizens who wished to remain anonymous” alleging that Tutt killed Anderson in retaliation for a shooting that occurred earlier in the year, according to the affidavit of probable cause.

Tutt was the victim of a shooting on April 26; he survived a gunshot wound to the butt. Weeks after the shooting, police eventually filed warrants for Anderson’s arrest on June 28 upon determining Anderson was the gunman who shot Tutt on the 600 block of Martin Luther King Jr. Boulevard. Anderson was wanted as the suspected triggerman but got murdered before police could arrest him on the warrant, court documents show.

Nebate Anderson

Nebate Anderson

Officers recovered nine .40 caliber spent shell casings at the scene. Two cooperating witnesses provided police with statements linking Tutt to the grisly slaying, and officers on Aug. 4 obtained a complaint warrant charging Tutt with murder and weapons offenses, according to documents in the court case. Trenton Police Detective Luis Vega Jr., a member of the Mercer County Homicide Task Force, arrested Tutt the following day subsequent to a motor vehicle stop. Carlo said no weapon was recovered.

Tutt may possibly never learn the identity of the two cooperating witnesses who pointed the finger at him, because Superior Court Judge Thomas Brown granted a protective order that allows the prosecution to redact, delay, or withhold the disclosure of any materials that would expose witnesses and others to harm.

Police on June 30 received anonymous tips implicating Tutt in the murder, but it was not until July 3 when Vega “learned the identity of a witness who was present at the scene of this murder and is referred to as ‘Cooperating Witness #1’ or ‘CW1,’” Vega said in his affidavit of probable cause statement. “CW1 stated to me that while on Sanford Street CW1 heard several gunshots, which gained CW1’s attention. CW1 then observed Leroy Tutt standing over the victim shooting a gun at the victim.”

Vega said he spoke with a second witness on July 18. He referred to that witness as “Cooperating Witness #2” or “CW2.”

According to the affidavit of probable cause, CW2 told Vega he had heard gunshots and then observed Tutt standing near Anderson’s body and “carrying his right arm in a way that appeared as if he was carrying a gun.”

Carlo last Friday urged Mercer County Superior Court Judge Robert Bingham II to release Tutt from the Mercer County Correction Center on electronically monitored home detention as he awaits trial.

Mercer County Assistant Prosecutor James Scott at the court hearing last Friday argued for pretrial detention, saying that Tutt is “a violent person” who has been incarcerated before on criminal convictions.

Judge Bingham cited Tutt’s criminal history, which includes convictions for selling drugs and perpetrating an aggravated assault, and ordered him to be jailed without bail on pretrial detention.

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