Third man in Rayshawn Ransom slaying sentenced to 12 years

A Trenton man who took a plea deal in connection with his involvement in the 2013 slaying of 19-year-old Rayshawn Ransom was sentenced Friday.

Dyquise Leonard had previously pled guilty to one count of attempted murder for which he would be sentenced to 12 years in prison. On Friday a Mercer County Judge imposed the term of 12 years the plea deal called for. Leonard will have to serve 10 years and two months before he is able to be released. He was sentenced concurrently to 5 years on another file.

Rayshawn Ransom

Rayshawn Ransom

“There are certain things that have happened and occurred within my life, and within my family’s life that I can … say ‘Hey, I would like to have justice done today in regards to my son’s life,” Raymond Salter-Ransom, said as he addressed the court. “Because I cannot hug my son, I cannot hold my son, and I can’t look at my son unless I look at pictures … his life was tooken away, my breath was tooken away and so has my wife’s and my other children.”

Ransom asked for justice and demanded the court do what was right.Read more

Jury finds Zaire Jackson not guilty on all counts

Defendant Zaire Jackson listens to testimony at his murder trial in Mercer County Superior Court on Tuesday, Feb. 7, 2017. (GREGG SLABODA — The Trentonian)

Defendant Zaire Jackson listens to testimony at his murder trial in Mercer County Superior Court on Tuesday, Feb. 7, 2017. (GREGG SLABODA — The Trentonian)

Zaire Jackson breathed a sigh of relief Friday in a Mercer County Court after he was found not guilty on all three counts against him at his homicide trial. The charges were murder, unlawful possession of a weapon and possession of a weapon for an unlawful purpose on allegations he knowingly procuring a handgun without a permit.

After the first not guilty was uttered in the court room Jackson’s family reacted out loud despite the judge’s instruction to refrain from doing so. The victim’s family left the courtroom, too overcome to watch the remainder of the proceedings.

Jackson appeared relieved and hugged defense attorney Steven Lember before leaving the court room.
The jury reached its verdict after submitting two questions regarding possession of the weapon. Jurors wrestled with the concept of whether or not Jackson possessed the gun before he was arrested on April 9, 2012. The jury began deliberations on Tuesday.

Despite their struggle, the jury returned the not guilty verdict around 1 p.m. on Friday.
Jackson was accused in the broad daylight killing of  22-year-old Irvin “Swirv” Jackson, Monday, April 9, 2012, on Moses Alley near North Hermitage Avenue in Trenton. Zaire Jackson, who was not related to the victim, was 17 years old at the time of the murder.

The verdict followed a contentious two-week trial where Jackson’s attorney claimed the state’s case was full of holes.
Jackson’s attorney, Steven Lember, said that regardless of the outcome, he still feels for the victim’s family. He added that his client had already done four years in jail while awaiting for trial. He said that in any event this remains a tragedy for both families.

On the verdict, assistant prosecutor Skylar Weissman said, “the jury has spoken. We feel for the family.”
He added that despite the outcome, “a young man is dead.”

Prosecutors: Video shows shooting death of Chambersburg murder victim

Emmanuel Cruz

Emmanuel Cruz

Recently arrested murder suspect Emmanuel Cruz killed Emilio Lopez in cold blood during a 2012 city robbery and the whole shebang was recorded on surveillance footage, authorities alleged. Read more

Third teen charged with 15-year-old’s murder also faces drug charges

A third teenager charged in the murder of a 15-year-old six months ago in the city’s West Ward was arrested for allegedly dealing drugs the week of the killing.

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

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

Wilson George, 19, has also been indicted on drug-distribution offenses for allegedly dealing dope in October 2015, according to court records. He faces a number of un-indicted drug charges filed the same week he and two other teens are accused of gunning down Maurice Wimbush-Jalaah, 15, on June 11 in Prospect Village, a Trenton housing complex.Read more

Prosecutors: Guns link suspects to teen’s murder in Prospect Village

A blaze of bullets and shell casings scattered in the street were linked to the murder of 15-year-old city teen found slumped over in the streets, soaked in blood almost exactly six months ago, prosecutors said.

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

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

It took detectives time to take in the murderous scene they encountered when they arrived in Prospect Village, in the city’s West Ward, in broad daylight June 11.

The victim, Maurice Wimbush-Jalaah, was fatally shot in a volley of bullets during a gun battle, prosecutors said.

Three city teens, Wilson George, Jashawn Smith and Juprie Wadley, were charged six months later with the teen’s slaying.

Smith and Wadley appeared in court Friday for a bail hearing.Read more

Urging dismissal, attorney for Newark gang member says third trial ‘destined’ for mistrial

Shaheed Brown listens to testimony  from State Police Detective Joseph Itri. Gregg Slaboda - The Trentonian

Shaheed Brown listens to testimony from State Police Detective Joseph Itri. Gregg Slaboda - The Trentonian

Convicting accused killer Shaheed Brown has become a family affair.

Meanwhile, the former Newark gang member continues to fight for his freedom in a case that has plagued Mercer County prosecutors who haven’t convinced juries in two trials six months apart that Brown gunned down 20-year-old Enrico Smalley Jr. outside a crime-ridden Trenton bar in 2014.

Brown’s attorney said in court papers a third trial is “destined” to end the same way.Read more

Convicted killer apologizes for fatal shooting of disabled man

Jaquan Dallas

Jaquan Dallas

It was the knock at the door no mother wants to hear.

Gloria Burke’s landlord stood outside, accompanied by two detectives.

The detectives showed Gloria a picture asked her if she recognized the man in the photo. She said it was her son.

They paused for what seemed like minutes.

“I’m so sorry, ma’am,” the detective said. “Your son was just murdered.”Read more

Admitted Trenton killer now says he didn’t do it

Grady Blue was done being told to shut up and take the deal.

Grady A. Blue III

Grady A. Blue III

In accepting a plea offer earlier this year, Blue III admitted gunning down 23-year-old Naquan Ellis as he was stood with a group of people outside of the North 25 housing complex in June 2014.

He was being sentenced Friday to 12 years in prison for aggravated manslaughter, for the shooting that claimed Ellis and injured another woman.

But Grady told the judge he wanted to take back his guilty plea. He accepted responsibility for a gun charge that called for a concurrent 7 years but not for the “body.”Read more

Trenton man killed city man in 2014 to save his own skin

Curtis Grier was a God-fearing city man who went to church every Sunday. His parents told a judge they raised him to respect the law and his elders. His father is a retired corrections officer and his family is tight with retired Trenton police officers.Curtis Grier

Yet in June 2014, two hours after his family friend clung to life after he was felled by three gunshots, Grier took matters into his own hands, a judge said Thursday at sentencing in Mercer County criminal court.

The judge agreed with Assistant Prosecutor William Fisher’s statement that Grier was a “vigilante.”

“Mr. Grier took it upon himself to arrange a reckoning,” Judge Peter Warshaw said, in handing down a 10-year sentence to the admitted killer. “The tragedy of this case is it didn’t have to occur.”Read more

Prosecutors name accused killer charged with shooting Trenton teen

A city teenager accused of killing 16-year-old Ciony Kirkman was quietly waived up as an adult last month to face murder charges in a random killing stemming from an apparent dispute over music disrespectful of a neighborhood gang.

Ciony Kirkman (contributed photo)

Ciony Kirkman (contributed photo)

Teenager Peter Charles Jr. has been charged with murder, six counts of aggravated assault and weapons offenses in connection with the April 24 slaying of Kirkman, who was shot in the head while inside a stolen van with six others minors.

A spokeswoman for the prosecutor’s office said criminal complaints were filed in October against Charles, who was 17 years old at the time of the killing. He turned 18 in July.Read more