With bail reform coming, Mercer judge anxious to move murder cases

Anticipating the impact New Jersey’s bail reform will have on currently jailed defendants, a Mercer County judge said he was anxious to get the murder cases of two men to trial before next year.

The men, Donte Jones and Ronald Smith, are each charged with separate slayings.

Jones is charged with fatally shooting 36-year-old Levonza Thompson with a 9mm handgun in the courtyard of the Oakland Park Apartments on the 200 block of Coolidge Avenue on Halloween night 2014. He has so far rejected a plea deal offer that would send him to prison for 33 years.

Donte Jones

Donte Jones

Smith, who is serving an unrelated prison sentence, is accused of killing 27-year-old Kevin Thomas in 2006. He also has so far rejected prosecutors’ plea offer that would require him to spend 27 years in prison for aggravated manslaughter.Read more