Suspect in multi-defendant murder trial of U.S. vet Dardar Paye asks for separate trial

Two of four Liberian men who were expected to be tried together next year in the execution-style slaying of a U.S. Army veteran could be tried separately depending on how a judge rules.

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Longtime friends ready to testify against defendant in 2012 Trenton murder

Four men plan to point the finger at Zaire Jackson for the 2012 murder of Irvin “Swirv” Jackson, prosecutors disclosed at a pretrial hearing Wednesday.

Their names are Casey Corker, Tiemear Lewis, Robert Patterson and Seption Diggs. Read more

Prosecutors want DNA sample from murder suspect to tie him to Hamilton robbery

Prosecutors hoping to secure forensics tying a Trenton man charged with the 2011 murder of a North Trenton pharmacist to the robbery of a Hamilton convenience store that occurred days later were dealt a roadblock Tuesday when the defendant refused to provide a DNA swab.

Assistant Prosecutor Lewis Korngut must now make a formal application to the court in order to compel Jamar Myers to submit a DNA swab, known as a buccal swab, taken from the inner cheek.

One of Myers’ attorneys called the request a “fishing expedition.” Read more

Brown and Dawson each sentenced to 50 years in prison for murder of Tracy Crews

The best man convicted of killing his close friend, a Trenton drug dealer, in a botched home invasion in 2008 maintained his innocence before he was sentenced to 50 years in prison for the slaying, his attorney confirmed.

Nigel Dawson and William Brown are accused of the 2008 murder of Tracy Crews. (Submitted photos)

Nigel Dawson and William Brown were convicted of the 2008 murder of Tracy Crews. (Submitted photos)

William “Paperboy” Brown, 30, and Nigel Joseph Dawson, 31, were each convicted in February of first-degree murder, felony murder, robbery and weapons offenses following a six-week trial before Superior Court Judge Andrew Smithson.

The duo faced a life sentence for the murder of Tracy Crews, a convicted drug dealer and Bloods gang member who was shot in the neck inside his Whittaker Avenue residence Sept 12, 2008 so the defendants could make off with $40,000 in drug proceeds. The judge handed down a 50-year sentence instead. Read more

Shaheed Brown rejects plea deal for murder charges, will head to trial

The murder case against a Trenton man accused of fatally

Prosecutors say this surveillance photo shows Shaheed Brown (left) and Enrico Smalley Jr. minutes before Smalley was gunned down outside of La Guira Bar on July 12, 2014.

Prosecutors say this surveillance photo shows Shaheed Brown (left) and Enrico Smalley Jr. minutes before Smalley was gunned down outside of La Guira Bar on July 12, 2014.

shooting Enrico Smalley Jr. outside a violence-riddled city bar last year is headed for trial.

Shaheed Brown, 30, who is accused of gunning down Smalley outside of La Guira Bar in July 2014, said he was “absolutely” rejecting prosecutors’ final plea offer of 45 years for murder.

A repeat offender with convictions for aggravated assault and aggravated arson, Brown was advised by Judge Robert Billmeier that he could be sentenced to up to 75 years in prison if he is found guilty by a jury at trial. He responded firmly that he understood.

The judge did not set a date for trial, which is expected to last up to four weeks. Billmeier said he would have to find a lull in his schedule, which is jam-packed with murder trials.

Billmeier recently presided over the murder trial of Keith Wells-Holmes, who was acquitted earlier this week of murder.Read more

Legal team for ‘Boom Bat’ files motion for fifth trial

Convicted gang leader Jose Negrete’s past murder trials were wracked by jury problems. His legal team said in court papers filed this week in Superior Court his fourth trial, dubbed a “trial by transcript” by defense attorney Jack Furlong, was no different.

The Latin Kings leader was awarded a new trial when the appellate court overturned his 2009 conviction, which led to an 80-year sentence, because of jury misconduct. A jury member knew the father of the victim’s children and made statements to panelists that were not a part of evidence at trial.

In this case, Negrete’s attorneys say this jury should not have known this was TRT-L-negrete jose 0560Negrete’s fourth trial for ordering the murder of gang “queen” Jeri Lynn Dotson and the near-strangulation of gang turncoat Alex Ruiz in August 2004.

But Furlong & Krasny associate Andrew Ferencevych wrote in a motion for new trial that any chance of that was eviscerated once prosecutors introduced transcripts of prior witness testimony from Negrete’s murder trials in 2008 and 2009.

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Man accused in 2011 murder offered plea deal

A Trenton man accused of fatally shooting city pharmacist Arjun Reddy Dyapa in 2011 must decide whether he is going to plead guilty to an unrelated gun possession charge or take his case to trial, a judge said Tuesday.

Jamar Meyers, 28, has a backlog of cases, prosecutors said. He faces murder, robbery and felony murder in the shooting death of Dyapa, who was shot inside his pharmacy store in April 2011 after he refused to turn over prescription pills during an armed heist, prosecutors said.

Meyers has been incarcerated for four years while awaiting trial on a myriad of cases. Prosecutors’ plea bargain calls for Meyers to admit guilt to weapon possession for a 5-year sentence. He has enough jail credits for a time served sentence. Read more

Victim of March house fire dies in hospital, death ruled a homicide

A man who suffered burns during a house fire last month died in the hospital Sunday and his death has been ruled a homicide.

The man, whose identity is still not known, suffered extensive burns during a March 12 house fire that occurred in the 200 block of Elmer Street.

“He passed away on Sunday and a post-mortem examination was conducted Wednesday, but he is still a John Doe,” Lt. Steven Varn said. Read more

Prosecutors hold course through a 10-year journey to a guilty verdict

The moment a jury foreman pronounced Jose “Boom Bat” Negrete guilty of ordering the killing of a gang “queen” Jeri Lynn Dotson and the near-strangulation of a gang turncoat Alex Ruiz in 2004, a single question danced in the minds of all those involved in what has become a decade-long ordeal.

Jose “Boom Bat” Negrete

Jose “Boom Bat” Negrete

Now that the whodunit aspect is settled, again, will this guilty verdict stand? It’s a fair question considering more than 10 years have elapsed since Negrete and several of his co-conspirators, holed up in his Brunswick Avenue residence, were rounded up by authorities in February 2005. In that time, Negrete had four trials, a span encompassing two Mercer County prosecutors.

Retired prosecutor Joe Bocchini was around for Negrete’s first three trials, which resulted in a hung jury and a guilty verdict, sandwiched around a trial that was scrapped shortly after jury selection. He was at Myrtle Beach Thursday when he received news of the guilty verdict.

“We went through one conviction, and we had the retrials,” Bocchini said, reflecting on the journey to get to this point. “The conviction here is very warranted; it was warranted the first time.

“It was nerve-wracking only to the extent that we knew he was guilty. We knew he deserved to be in jail. It was frustrating to go through the retrials. Negrete is where he belongs and should stay for the remainder of his days.”

While Bocchini had to settle for dialing up his former right-hand man, Acting Prosecutor Angelo Onofri had a firsthand look, seated a row behind Dotson’s family, keeping watch over them as the verdict was read. Read more

Jose ‘Boom Bat’ Negrete found guilty on all counts in fourth murder trial

Latin Kings leader Jose “Boom Bat” Negrete was convicted Thursday for his role in the summer 2004 slaying of gang “queen” Jeri Lynn Dotson and botched murder attempt of gang turncoat Alex Ruiz, drawing a presumed close to a case that spanned more than a decade and required several jury panels to decide a verdict.

Jose “Boom Bat” Negrete

Jose “Boom Bat” Negrete

Security was tight with a dozen sheriff officers on hand as Dotson’s family and several members of the Mercer County Prosecutor’s Office, including Acting Prosecutor Angelo Onofri, crammed inside the Mercer County courtroom to listen as a jury of eight women and four men who had deliberated for three days returned guilty verdicts to counts of conspiracy, murder and attempted murder against Negrete, the Latin Kings Inca who was on trial for the fourth time for ordering the killing of Dotson to ensure her silence.

The jury also agreed Negrete was guilty of attempted murder related to the near-strangulation of Ruiz, who was ordered handed over by Negrete to the rival Ñetas after his defection to the Latin Kings sparked a war between the factions.

Linda Dotson, the victim’s mother, gasped and embraced a family member as the jury foreman read the guilty verdict. It was a moment the family had lived in 2009 when Negrete was convicted on all charges only to see the appellate court overturn an 80-year sentence because of jury misconduct. They left the courtroom without speaking to reporters.

Negrete remained seated next to his attorney, Jack Furlong, as the verdict was read. Furlong said after the verdict was read he would file a motion for a new trial which will delay sentencing. Judge Pedro Jimenez revoked Negrete’s $2 million bail and set a hearing on the new trial motion for May 29.

If the motion is denied, Furlong plans to appeal. Read more