Trenton homicide trial ends with murder conviction, justice for Mooky Johnson

The man who shot and killed 26-year-old Jermaine “Mooky” Johnson in an April 2016 broad daylight execution has been convicted.

Jamar McCoy

Jamar McCoy

Jamar McCoy, 35, of Ewing, has been found guilty of murder and weapons offenses in connection with the brazen crime.

A trial jury handed down the verdict on March 14, exposing McCoy to decades of prison time when he is sentenced later this year.

Johnson, a city resident, was shot at least five times while sitting inside a Nissan Murano that was parked in a driveway on Hillcrest Avenue in Trenton’s West Ward near Cadwalader Park April 29, 2016. He later died at the hospital. 

In addition to slaying the 26-year-old victim, McCoy pistol-whipped Johnson’s brother after the shooting, authorities said.

Jermaine "Mooky" Johnson (Facebook photo)

Jermaine “Mooky” Johnson (Facebook photo)

Homicide detectives quickly solved the case, arresting McCoy on May 1, 2016, and formally charging him with murder the next day. He sat in jail on $1 million cash bail waiting for his day in court. He would have been better off pleading guilty.

The jury found McCoy guilty of first-degree purposeful murder, second-degree aggravated assault, second-degree possession of a firearm for an unlawful purpose, and second-degree unlawful possession of a handgun without a permit to carry. The jury found him not guilty on two counts of first-degree attempted murder, but McCoy still faces 30 years to life in prison on the murder conviction, court records show.

Before becoming a coldblooded killer, McCoy was already known to law-enforcement authorities as a prior menace to society. Police previously arrested McCoy on June 20, 2004, when they found him distributing drugs in Trenton.

He pleaded guilty to third-degree distribution of heroin near school property and was later sentenced to three years of incarceration after violating probation in 2005, court records show. That conviction stripped McCoy of the right to bear arms in New Jersey, which boasts some of the strictest anti-gun laws in the nation.

When a grand jury indicted McCoy on May 11, 2017, the final count in the indictment charged him with second-degree certain persons not to have a weapon due to a prior conviction. McCoy should have never possessed a handgun in the slaying of Johnson because he had previously confessed to being a drug dealer.

To ensure that McCoy had a fair trial, Mercer County Superior Court Judge Robert Billmeier made sure the jury did not know about McCoy’s prior drug conviction before finding him guilty of murder and weapons offenses.

After the jury issued its verdict, McCoy had to undergo a second court proceeding to resolve the final count in the indictment. The state was prepared to prove beyond a reasonable doubt that McCoy was a certain person not allowed to bear arms in New Jersey, but the defendant pleaded guilty to second-degree certain persons not to have a weapon rather than sit through a bifurcated second trial following his murder conviction, court records show.

Mercer County Assistant Prosecutor Daniel Matos won the murder case against McCoy, who was represented by defense attorney Mark Fury.

McCoy is scheduled to be sentenced May 17 before Judge Billmeier, according to the Mercer County Prosecutor’s Office.

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