3 killers get 15 years for gunning down Trenton teen

(left to right) Wilson George, Jayshawn Smith and Juprie Wadley

(left to right) Wilson George, Jashawn Smith and Juprie Wadley

Case closed!

The three men who shot and killed 15-year-old Maurice Wimbush-Jalaah at a West Ward housing complex in 2016 have each been sentenced to 15 years of state incarceration.

Juprie Wadley, 21; Wilson George, 21; and Jashawn Smith, 20, have all pleaded guilty in the case. They confessed June 25 to first-degree aggravated manslaughter, admitting they gunned Wimbush-Jalaah down at Prospect Village during the afternoon of June 11, 2016. The victim later died at the hospital from his life-threatening injuries.

Maurice Wimbush-Jalaah (submitted photo)

Maurice Wimbush-Jalaah (submitted photo)

Police apprehended all three killers almost immediately following the daylight slaying, but George was initially released because he was not in possession of a gun at the time he was stopped. Smith and Wadley allegedly had weapons with them when police apprehended the trio on Louise Lane following the fatal shooting. Another gun was found on the ground on Louise Lane, and police later charged George with weapons offenses for allegedly tossing it before his apprehension. 

A 2017 indictment charged all three co-defendants with first-degree murder and second-degree weapons offenses, but the judge dismissed those counts at sentencing in accordance with the manslaughter plea agreement.

Mercer County Superior Court Judge Robert Billmeier sentenced the trio to 15 years of state imprisonment last Friday, ordering each defendant to serve 85 percent of the maximum term behind bars before being paroled, according to his judgments of conviction. All three co-defendants upon release will be subjected to five years of parole supervision.

The three co-defendants have each been ordered to provide a DNA sample as convicted felons and were collectively ordered to jointly pay $5,000 in restitution. The state has requested additional restitution of $2,355 on behalf of Shanell Wimbush, the victim’s mother. The judge did not immediately decide whether the additional restitution would be levied, keeping the matter open for 30 days, according to the judgments of conviction.

Smith had no history of delinquency or criminal activity before killing Wimbush-Jalaah. But his partners in crime have other Superior Court convictions on their records in addition to the manslaughter conviction.

George has been incarcerated in state prison since July 2017 for selling drugs in Mercer County in 2015 and 2016 before becoming a self-confessed killer. He previously pleaded guilty in three separate drug distribution cases and got sentenced to four years of imprisonment last year. Now George is scheduled to be released from the Garden State Youth Correctional Facility on May 8, 2030, due to his concurrent 15-year prison sentence in the slaying of Wimbush-Jalaah, according to the New Jersey Department of Corrections. George has been awarded 388 days of jail credit in the homicide case and was represented by private attorney Mark Fury at last week’s sentencing.

In addition to pleading guilty to manslaughter, Wadley on June 25 also admitted he distributed drugs in Mercer County on Dec. 7, 2016. He got sentenced to five years of incarceration in the drug case to run concurrent to his 15-year manslaughter sentence, court records show. Wadley has been awarded 625 days of jail credit in the homicide case and was represented by defense attorney Christopher Campbell at last week’s sentencing.

Smith received 635 days of jail credit in the homicide case. He was represented by private attorney Mark G. Davis at last Friday’s sentencing hearing.

In his judgments of conviction, Billmeier said the manslaughter plea agreement for all three co-defendants “appears to be fair and in the interest of justice.” Mercer County Assistant Prosecutor Kathleen Petrucci represented the state of New Jersey at the trio’s sentencing hearing.

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