Self-confessed killer gets reduced prison sentence in 2014 Trenton slaying

The man who shot and killed 24-year-old Jahmir Hall had his 10-year prison sentence recently reduced thanks to a lenient judiciary.

Curtis J. Grier, 31, of Trenton, has been resentenced to seven years of incarceration for the 2014 slaying. He previously pleaded guilty to second-degree reckless manslaughter, admitting he fatally gunned Hall down about 12:30 a.m. April 19, 2014, in the streets of Trenton.

Curtis Grier

Curtis Grier

“Mr. Grier took it upon himself to arrange a reckoning,” Superior Court Judge Peter Warshaw said Nov. 10, 2016, when he sentenced the self-confessed killer to 10 years of state imprisonment. Months later, however, Warshaw reconsidered his judgment of conviction after the Appellate Division intervened.

Grier, who has already served more than one year at South Woods State Prison, received delayed leniency last month when Warshaw revisited the case on Appellate Division orders. Warshaw found Grier to be less dangerous at the Feb. 22 resentencing hearing.

Whenever a Superior Court judge sentences a defendant, the court always considers whether aggravating factors support a harsher punishment or whether mitigating factors support a more lenient punishment. Warshaw originally said the aggravating factors against Grier outweighed the mitigating factors and used that rationale when handing down the initial 10-year prison sentence.

But after the Appellate Division remanded the case back to Warshaw for resentencing, the Superior Court judge easily found the aggravating factors, including risk of Grier committing another offense, to be “in balance” with the mitigating factors, which included the undisputed fact that Grier had no history of prior delinquency or criminal activity before the commission of the April 2014 homicide.

Warshaw resentenced Grier to seven years of state incarceration pursuant to the No Early Release Act requiring him to serve 85 percent of the maximum term before being paroled. Grier will then be subjected to three years of parole supervision upon release. Grier received four days of jail credit and 469 days of prior service credit, which means he has less than five years to go before release.

While the resentencing gave Grier a reduced prison sentence, it also imposed on him a greater monetary punishment. Grier at resentencing got hammered with a $5,000 assessment payable to the New Jersey Victims of Crime Compensation Office. The original sentencing called for him to pay about $200 in fees and penalties, according to court records.

“To be fair and in the interests of justice,” Warshaw wrote in his resentencing judgment of conviction, “the Court will impose the recommended sentence in accordance with the plea agreement.”

Case background

Police arrested Grier not long after he shot and killed Jahmir Hall, who police found lying partially underneath a pickup truck in the 800 block of Quinton Avenue suffering from multiple gunshot wounds. Hall was later pronounced dead at Saint Francis Medical Center.

Jahmir Hall

Jahmir Hall

Days after being charged with murder and weapons offenses, Grier posted his $300,000 full bond or cash bail on April 24, 2014, buying his way out of jail, court records show. He pleaded guilty to reckless manslaughter on June 23, 2016, but remained free on bail until he got shipped off to state prison following his original November 2016 sentencing.

A grand jury originally indicted both Grier and a co-defendant, Daniel McCargo, 31, of Trenton, on murder charges and weapons offenses in connection with the slaying of Hall.

Grier confessed to the killing while McCargo pleaded guilty to certain persons not to have a weapon due to a prior offense. McCargo had four prior upper court convictions for drug distribution and weapons offenses and previously served time in state prison for those prior crimes, according to his rap sheet.

Daniel McCargo

Daniel McCargo

Grier and McCargo both got arrested on April 19, 2014, in the wake of the homicide. Grier at his initial sentencing hearing said he had argued with Hall and then shot Hall in self-defense after Hall pulled out a weapon. Grier said he took Hall’s weapon and handed it over to McCargo, who admitted to possessing the handgun as a convicted felon.

Warshaw sentenced McCargo on Sept. 16, 2016, imposing seven years of state imprisonment with a five-year minimum term of parole ineligibility and dismissing the other counts in the indictment. McCargo received 881 days of jail credit, for he sat at the Mercer County Correction Center on $300,000 cash bail from April 21, 2014, till Sept. 22, 2016, when he was transferred to state prison, records show.

Grier was represented by private defense attorney Robin Lord, while McCargo was represented by public defender Malaeika Montgomery. Mercer County Assistant Prosecutor William Fisher handled both cases on behalf of the state.

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