Gunman who killed Trenton rapper ‘Young Farr’ pleads guilty
The gunman who shot and killed Trenton hip-hop lyricist Jafar “Young Farr” Lewis over four years ago has now fessed up, abruptly ending his presumption of innocence in a lingering homicide case that previously ended in a mistrial.
Wayne Bush pleaded guilty last Friday to second-degree reasonable provocation manslaughter for slaying the 26-year-old rap artist on Aug. 23, 2013.
“He still wanted to go to trial, but his family was very much in favor of him taking the offer,” defense attorney John Furlong said of his client Bush.
Under the plea agreement, the 39-year-old Bush could receive anywhere from five-to-10 years of state incarceration at his sentencing hearing, which is scheduled for Dec. 1. The state will likely request the maximum 10-year sentence, but Furlong said he will recommend the judge to impose the minimum five-year prison sentence.
Bush was originally charged with murder, possession of a weapon for an unlawful purpose and unlawful possession of a weapon on allegations he armed himself with a pistol and fired a kill shot that ripped through Lewis’s skull on Middle Rose Street near Brunswick Avenue in Trenton’s North Ward.
Twanna Robinson heard two gunshots that night and then saw Bush standing above her fiancé Lewis, who was lying motionless on the ground. “You going to jail!” she immediately shouted at Bush, who fled from the scene in a vehicle, according to Robinson’s witness testimony.
At Bush’s initial murder trial in March, Mercer County Superior Court Judge Robert Billmeier declared a mistrial after the state’s final witness gave potentially inflammatory testimony on the witness stand. The state was preparing to retry the case, but then Bush fell into more legal troubles that gave him an incentive to take a plea deal.
Bush, who has been incarcerated at the Mercer County Correction Center since surrendering Aug. 30, 2013, was re-arrested Sept. 18 and charged with third-degree witness tampering and fourth-degree contempt. He is accused of recently contacting a witness in his homicide case and asking her about the welfare of her children and contacting the boyfriend of another witness in violation of a judge’s no-contact order.
Authorities say Bush was willing to offer something of value to a witness not to testify against him. The new criminal charges have resulted in Bush being jailed without bail on pretrial detention; he was previously being held on high monetary bail on the murder charges.
Considering that a trial by jury could have found Bush guilty of first-degree murder and considering that Bush has accrued four years of jail credit, he ultimately decided to resolve his homicide case by pleading guilty to second-degree provoked manslaughter in a deal that may also resolve the witness tampering case, according to Furlong.
The state has obtained a communications data warrant to explore whether Bush has made any further contact with witnesses, but Furlong said he is “confident” the state will not find any such evidence.
“The state has said based on the investigation to date, if nothing else comes out, they would be willing to let him plead guilty to contempt of court fourth-degree to run concurrent to manslaughter,” Furlong said.
If Bush is allowed to resolve his pending witness tampering case by pleading guilty to fourth-degree contempt at his Dec. 1 sentencing hearing, he would be sentenced to serve concurrent terms not to exceed 10 years. He would have to serve 85 percent of the manslaughter term and would be awarded four years of jail credit. Under that scenario, if a judge sentenced Bush to seven years of incarceration, he would end up serving less than two years in state prison for killing local hip-hop sensation Young Farr in cold blood.