Convicted murderer Mada Eoff gets 38 years in Trenton slaying

Convicted murderer Mada Eoff has been sentenced to 38 years of state incarceration for shooting and killing 19-year-old Lance Beckett in September 2016.

Lance Beckett (Facebook photo)

Lance Beckett (Facebook photo)

“Thirty years is real time,” Mercer County Assistant Prosecutor Tim Ward told The Trentonian on Friday, “and that is what he is going to serve before he is eligible for parole.”

Eoff was 17 when he murdered the victim in cold blood. He turned 19 last week.

Mercer County Superior Court Judge Robert Billmeier sentenced Eoff on Friday to 38 years of incarceration and ordered him to serve 85 percent of the sentence behind bars before becoming eligible for parole. 

Eoff murdered Beckett during the afternoon of Sept. 18, 2016, with Trenton Police arriving on the scene about 2:50 p.m. to discover the victim lying face down in the grass along East Stuyvesant Avenue in the capital city. One shot struck Beckett in the neck, another shot struck him in the left shoulder and the kill shot entered through his back and exited through his chest, and he was pronounced dead at the scene, authorities said.

Police arrested Eoff several days after the slaying. He was initially prosecuted as a 17-year-old juvenile, but authorities waived him up to adult court in April 2017 and placed him on pretrial detention.

At the murder trial on Jan. 25, a jury delivered a mixed-verdict finding Eoff guilty of first-degree murder but not guilty of second-degree gun possession charges. The defense filed a motion seeking a judgment of acquittal in response to the mixed-verdict, but the trial judge sided with the prosecution and upheld the murder conviction.

A grand jury originally indicted three co-defendants on first-degree murder charges in the slaying of Beckett. Eoff took his case to trial and lost, but the other two co-defendants pleaded guilty for their roles in the slaying and received lighter punishments.

Omar Kennedy, 36, of Trenton, is serving a three-year prison sentence at the Central Reception and Assignment Facility in Ewing for confessing to third-degree aggravated assault in the homicide case. He is scheduled to be released on June 3, 2019, according to the New Jersey Department of Corrections.

Quashawn Emanuel, 20, is serving out an eight-year prison sentence at the Albert C. Wagner Youth Correctional Facility in Chesterfield for pleading guilty to second-degree reckless manslaughter in the slaying of Beckett. He is scheduled to be released on July 10, 2023, according to DOC records.

With the case being closed, Ward said he hopes the victim’s family can heal.

“It is my hope that they can continue to move forward and do their best to heal,” he said Friday in an interview with The Trentonian. “At least they don’t have to worry about coming to court anymore.”

“You could never get closure for something like this,” Ward said, “but the criminal process is coming to an end with the sentencing.”

With Eoff receiving almost two years of jail credit, he must serve about 30 years in the slammer before becoming eligible for parole under his 38-year prison sentence pursuant to New Jersey’s No Early Release Act.

“I thought it was a very fair and reasonable sentence,” Ward said. “Because the defendant was a juvenile when he committed the crime, he is going to be treated differently under the law than if he were an adult. With the sentence he got, he won’t be eligible for parole until he is in his 50s, so I think that is fair given the circumstances.”

“Thirty years is real time,” Ward added, “and that is what he is going to serve before he is eligible for parole.”

Despite being convicted of murder, Eoff maintains his innocence and will likely file an appeal with the New Jersey Judiciary’s Appellate Division.

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