Convicted triggerman Randy Washington gets 70 years for grisly Trenton murder
Convicted murderer Randy K. Washington did not want to witness justice being served on Friday when Mercer County Superior Court Judge Darlene Pereksta sentenced him to 70 years of incarceration for stalking, shooting and killing 64-year-old Silas Johnson.
Pereksta sentenced Washington in absentia to serve 85 percent of his term — nearly 60 years behind bars — before he can become eligible for parole.
The sentence was consistent with what prosecutors recommended, although Johnson’s family members wanted Washington to get hammered with the maximum penalty of life imprisonment without parole, which New Jersey state law defines as 75 years of incarceration.
Pereksta described Washington as “dangerous” and said he “has shown no remorse despite what appears to be significant evidence against him.”
Washington, 36, of Trenton, premeditated a plan to ambush Johnson on the morning of Oct. 29, 2014, when both of them were riding aboard a River LINE train that was making its way into Trenton.
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, according to a medical examiner’s report cited by prosecutors.
Washington pleaded not guilty and took his case to trial, which ended July 6 with a jury finding him guilty of first-degree murder, weapons offenses and resisting arrest. The murderer declined to attend his sentencing hearing on Friday despite having the option to appear via video link. He has not physically or electronically appeared in court ever since he allegedly attacked his former defense attorney Jessica Lyons in Pereksta’s courtroom on June 29.
Washington has a mile-long rap sheet comprising six juvenile adjudications, nine municipal court convictions and nine upper-court convictions that include previous violent offenses, according to Pereksta, who said her sentencing of Washington to seven decades of imprisonment was “appropriate” and “just.”
“My condolences for your loss,” Pereksta said to Johnson’s family members who were in attendance.
Johnson was a beloved grandfather and uncle who would occasionally make trips up and down the state on NJ Transit’s River LINE light-rail train. Three of Johnson’s family members, including his son, spoke at Friday’s sentencing hearing.
“Today, justice will be finally served for a man who coldheartedly shot and murdered my dad,” Silas K. Greene said. “Randy stalked my dad. … He fought him and then shot him more than once.”
Two of Johnson’s nieces also spoke at the sentencing and described Washington as a “danger to civilization, a true menace to society” and a “bad person.”
Defense attorney Edward Hesketh has been entered as Washington’s new lawyer as of July 12. Hesketh did not say much at Friday’s sentencing but suggested that his client intends to file a timely appeal to his murder conviction.
“This truly was the most senseless murder that didn’t need to happen,” Mercer County Assistant Prosecutor Stacey Geurds said, adding that Washington “deserves to be punished and kept away” for murdering Johnson in cold blood.
Washington has several additional criminal matters pending before state Superior Court, including another homicide case. In addition to murdering Johnson near the intersection of Market Street and the Route 1 overpass in Trenton, 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 the 7.5-square-mile capital city of Trenton.
In addition to being sentenced to 70 years of incarceration for first-degree murder, Washington on Friday also received a 10-year concurrent sentence for unlawful possession of a handgun and a five-year concurrent sentence for resisting arrest. He has been awarded 1,059 days of jail credit for being incarcerated at the Mercer County Correction Center from Oct. 29, 2014, through Sept. 21, 2017, but he still must serve well over 50 years behind bars if his conviction remains upheld.