The triggerman who shot and killed U.S. Army veteran Dardar Paye execution style and who then ordered the victim’s body to be stuffed in the trunk of a car has been sentenced to six decades of hard time behind bars.
The state argued that Danuweli Keller should have been hit with life imprisonment — which amounts to 75 years of incarceration — for being convicted at trial on first-degree murder charges, but Mercer County Superior Court Judge Robert Billmeier on Thursday sentenced Keller to 61 years in state prison.
“We are gratified that Mr. Keller will be in prison for over half a century,” Mercer County Assistant Prosecutor Michelle Gasparian told The Trentonian after the sentencing. “It was a cold-blooded execution of the victim. Hopefully this gives the victim’s family some closure.”
Paye, 33, was a U.S. Army veteran, father of two sons and a Liberian immigrant. One of his sisters, Elizabeth Paye, spoke at Thursday’s sentencing and talked about the hurt of losing her brother while also expressing that she forgives Keller for his vicious crimes.Read more
Jerome J. Thomas
A registered sex offender was shot and killed Friday night while seated inside his vehicle in North Trenton, becoming the city’s 15th homicide victim of 2017.
Jerome J. Thomas, 21, of the Somerset section of Franklin Township in Somerset County, suffered multiple gunshot wounds on the 600 block of Southard Street about 7:50 p.m. Friday, authorities said. He was pronounced dead shortly thereafter.
The at-large triggerman was described as a black male who fled the scene after the shooting, police said.Read more
Jamar Myers (N.J. Department of Corrections Photo)
The gunman who shot and killed a beloved Trenton pharmacist in April 2011 is now serving hard time in the state prison system.
Jamar Myers, 31, of Lalor Street in Hamilton Township, is doing 30 years behind bars for murdering Brunswick Pharmacy owner Sri Arjun Reddy Dyapa, 54, during the commission of a robbery.
The incident occurred April 29, 2011, when Myers walked into the pharmacy demanding drugs and shot Dyapa once in the chest when the victim refused to comply.Read more
Danuweli Keller (left) and Mack Edwards
A 12-member jury has unanimously found Danuweli Keller guilty of a 2011 city murder that left the victim’s body stuffed in the trunk of a car.
Meanwhile, the jury on Thursday could not reach any verdicts against co-defendant Mack Edwards, 31, of Trenton, with the jury deliberating for hours over Edwards’ fate but being hung on all 17 counts at the trial’s conclusion.
Prosecutors say they have a strong case against Edwards and will try him again in hopes of securing a conviction at a future trial. The partial verdict is not exactly what the state was looking for, but the prosecution expressed satisfaction with the jury convicting Keller on the murder charges.Read more
Sgt. Jason Astbury received awards for valor and merit during a May 2010 police ceremony but was shaken eight months later when he discovered the murdered body of Dardar Paye stuffed inside the trunk of a Buick sedan.
Trenton Police Sgt. Jason Astbury
“I was startled,” Astbury said Thursday during witness testimony. “I’ve never come across anything like that in my career.”
Astbury found the body in the trunk on Jan. 16, 2011, following an interstate police chase that began in Trenton and ended on Route 1 in Falls Township, Pennsylvania.
Paye, 33, was a U.S. Army veteran and Liberian immigrant who had been shot and killed in the basement of a Monmouth Street home in Trenton before getting placed in garbage bags and stuffed in the Buick’s trunk. Astbury said he had checked the body for a pulse, to no avail.Read more
The Newark boy accused of stabbing 27-year-old Carlos Leiva-Oviedo to death last year is now incarcerated on pretrial detention and facing murder charges as an adult.
Danny Saad, who recently turned 16, has been charged with murder, armed robbery, murder during commission of a crime, possession of a weapon for an unlawful purpose and unlawful possession of a weapon in connection with the Chambersburg stabbing death of Leiva-Oviedo.
During the early morning hours of June 14, 2016, Trenton Police responded to the intersection of Hudson and Genesee streets and found Leiva-Oviedo sprawled out on the street near his car, which was parked on Hudson. He suffered multiple stab wounds and was taken by ambulance to a hospital, where he died four hours later. Read more
The alleged gunman who shot and killed Emilio Lopez during a 2012 robbery in Trenton’s Chambersburg neighborhood is gearing up for a post-indictment arraignment.
Emmanuel Cruz, 29, of Hamilton, is scheduled to appear in court 9 a.m. next Monday before Mercer County Superior Court Judge Darlene Pereksta. A grand jury indicted him last month on six counts, including murder, robbery and possession of a weapon for an unlawful purpose on allegations he fatally gunned down Lopez on the night of Nov. 16, 2012, near the intersection of Kent and Division streets. Read more
Two teens have been indicted in the murder of Ricardo Montalvan Jr., the Mercer County Prosecutor’s Office said on Friday.
Ricardo Montalvan Jr.
Prosecutors said that Divon Ray, 17, and Zakeem Brown, 18, were each indicted on one count of first-degree murder, one count of first-degree felony murder, one count of first-degree robbery, one count of second-degree possession of a weapon for an unlawful purpose and one count of second-degree unlawful possession of a weapon.
In 2016, the pair were waived up to adult court from juvenile, the Prosecutor’s office said.
Montalvan was shot in a parking lot in the 200 block of Whittakter Avenue on May 11, 2016 around 9:50 p.m.
The 23-year-old victim was found inside of a silver Toyota Camry with at least one gunshot wound.
Montalvan was transported to Capital Health Regional Medical Center where he was pronounced dead at 10:15 p.m.
Assistant Prosecutor Timothy Ward presented the case to the grand jury.
When all was said and done Ernier Pacheco was sentenced to 12 years in state prison.
He plead to aggravated manslaughter in the 2014 stabbing death of 21-year-old Alberto Saquic outside of Chapala II on Morris Avenue. Pacheco was 18 at the time of the stabbing.
Speaking through an interpreter, Pacheco apologized to Alberto Saquic’s family.
“First of all, I’d like to apologize to the victim’s family for my actions,” Pacheco said. “It was never my intent for this to happen.” The 19-year-old said that he feels he is older now and has a different frame of mind than he did on the night that Saquic died.
He also apologized to the court, to which Judge Peter Warshaw replied “you don’t have to apologize to me.”
Saquic’s brother had intended to be in court, but a work conflict prevented him from being able to attend.
Assistant Prosecutor Kathleen Petrucci said that she’d relate Pacheco’s apology to the family, but noted that Friday appeared to be the first time that Pacheco had expressed remorse for his actions.
Judge Warshaw sentenced the 20-year-old in accordance with his plea agreement, but he was given jail credit for 873 days.He’d already spent in prison. Under the terms of his plea agreement he’ll have to serve 85 percent of his sentence before he is eligible for release. Typically, aggravated manslaughter carries between 10 to 30 years in prison.
Five people were indicted last week in the murder of 27-year-old Amber Dudley, the Mercer County Prosecutor’s Office said on Wednesday. Read more