Jury delivers mixed verdict in murder of Lance Beckett

Lance Beckett (Facebook photo)

Lance Beckett (Facebook photo)

A jury has found 18-year-old Mada Eoff guilty of murdering Lance Beckett, who suffered fatal gunshot wounds in Trenton in September 2016, but the jury also found the city teen not guilty of brandishing a handgun for an unlawful purpose.

The jury’s mixed verdict, handed down Thursday morning, prompted public defender Jessica Lyons to argue for the Superior Court to overturn the murder conviction, saying it is “inconsistent” for her client to be convicted of murder while simultaneously being exonerated of the weapons offenses.Read more

Second Monday murder victim identified

One of the victims in a January 22 shooting drove this vehicle to the hospital after fleeing the scene. (L.A. Parker - Trentonian)

One of the victims in a January 22 shooting drove this vehicle to the hospital after fleeing the scene. (L.A. Parker - Trentonian)

The second man who was killed Monday afternoon has been identified as 19-year-old Ivan Rodriguez, of Philadelphia.

Rodriguez and 25-year-old Jerard Perdomo-Santana, who was identified Tuesday, were in a car near the intersection of Ashmore Avenue and Washington Street around 2:30 p.m. when gunfire rang out. Both of them were later pronounced dead at the hospital.

A third victim who survived the shooting drove a separate vehicle to the hospital, where he was later questioned by detectives. Read more

Three shot, two killed in Trenton Monday afternoon

Police investigate a murder in Trenton Monday afternoon.

Police investigate a murder in Trenton Monday afternoon. (L.A. Parker - The Trentonian)

UPDATE: One of the victims has been identified as 25-year-old Jerard Perdomo Santana, of Pennsylvania.

Two people were killed and another was injured Monday during an afternoon shooting in the Chambersburg section of the city.

The incident happened around 2:30 p.m. near the intersection of Ashmore Avenue and Washington Street.

One victim suffered gunshot wounds to his head and chest while in a vehicle with another victim who was shot in the neck. Both of them were later pronounced dead at the hospital. Read more

Self-confessed Trenton killer to testify at co-defendant’s murder trial

An accomplice who facilitated the September 2016 shooting death of 19-year-old Lance Beckett has pleaded guilty while the alleged triggerman in the case is being tried on murder charges.

Quashawn Emanuel, 19, has admitted his role in the homicide under a plea deal that requires he testify against alleged triggerman Mada Eoff, 18, of Trenton, whose murder trial kicked off Tuesday with opening statements.

Lance Beckett (Facebook photo)

Lance Beckett (Facebook photo)

Eoff, who is 6-foot-4 and 195-pounds, appeared calm when a prosecutor emphasized the defendant’s height and braided hairstyle. He looked confident when a public defender suggested the state has no scientific or physical evidence to win a conviction.

“Mada Eoff shot Lance Beckett three times,” Mercer County Assistant Prosecutor Tim Ward told the jury in his opening salvo. “Mada Eoff murdered Lance Beckett.” Read more

Trenton has first homicide of the year

Cops guard the murder scene of Trenton’s first homicide of 2018.

Cops guard the murder scene of Trenton’s first homicide of 2018.

TRENTON >> A man was shot and killed early Tuesday morning on the 1100 block of West State Street, officials confirmed.

The Homicide Task Force continues to investigate the circumstances of the murder, Trenton’s first of the year.

The fatal shooting happened shortly after 1 a.m., prosecutors said, next to the Mercer Street Friends preschool at the intersection of West State Street and South Eastfield Avenue.

Read more

2017: Trenton’s homicides by the numbers

The bloody aftermath of a New Years Eve homicide in the capital city. (David Foster - Trentonian)

The bloody aftermath of a New Years Eve homicide in the capital city. (David Foster - Trentonian)

After an ambush-style New Year’s Eve slaying, the capital city concluded 2017 with 24 homicides, which includes the deaths of Lea Pringle and Rodney Taylor, whom both were killed by hit-and-run drivers.

That number does not include the “suspicious death” of Lillian Duran, whose body was found wrapped in a trash bag on the side of Lamberton Street. A medical examiner ruled Duran’s death inconclusive, but law enforcement sources believe she died from a drug overdose after being forced to take a “hot bag” of dope, then later dumped on the side of the road as a warning to others.

That number also excludes the suspicious death of Gregory Wright Jr., who was found unresponsive in his Lexus in the area of Spring Street and Kafer Alley. Prosecutors await an official autopsy report and have not publicly announced his death as a homicide, but police sources with knowledge of the investigation believe he was assaulted before being placed in his car, where detectives later found him. Read more

Woman murdered in Trenton on New Year’s Eve had just attended church, other victim says

DAVID FOSTER — THE TRENTONIAN Blood soaks the sidewalk outside a Trenton home on the 100 block of Brown Street, where a 45-year-old female was murdered and a male suffered a gunshot wound on New Year’s Eve.

DAVID FOSTERTHE TRENTONIAN
Blood soaks the sidewalk outside a Trenton home on the 100 block of Brown Street, where a 45-year-old female was murdered and a male suffered a gunshot wound on New Year’s Eve.

A city resident had planned to go out for a beer on New Year’s Eve.

Then, a female friend invited him to church.

“I said, ‘What the hell. I’ll do the right thing. I’ll go to church. It’ll be better than going to a bar and getting drunk and this is what happened,’” the 37-year-old male resident said New Year’s Day outside the home where his female friend was shot to death the previous night at approximately 11:30 p.m.

Police identified the man’s friend as 45-year-old Gladys Barrera, of Trenton. She was pronounced dead outside the home on the 100 block of Brown Street.

The male victim also suffered a graze wound to his head but was released from the hospital.Read more

Female murdered in Trenton just before the new year

Trenton EMS

Trenton EMS

UPDATE: The victim has been identified as 45-year-old Gladys Barrera.

The capital city couldn’t make it through the start of a new year without another murder.

A female was shot and killed Sunday night, marking the 24th homicide to occur in Trenton, which includes two hit-and-run deaths.

The female was shot in the 100 block of Brown Street around 11:30 p.m. and pronounced dead at the scene. A male was injured in the shooting as well, but he is expected to survive.

Of the 24 killings in 2017, 20 victims died by gunfire, two died by stabbing and two died by automobile.

Medical personnel have been so busy that The Trentonian selected all first responders working in the capital city as the newspaper’s 2017 Persons of the Year.

One year in, New Jersey’s bail reform still a contentious issue

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Bail reform has provoked no shortage of reactions since it was implemented a year ago. Some New Jerseyeans thunderously applauded it as a boon for the poor and minorities who were once trapped in a bail system that gave wealthy, sometimes more dangerous defendants a leg up.

Others in the bail industry, often demonized as unscrupulous people who took advantage of downtrodden and disenfranchised defendants, called reform efforts in the Garden State and elsewhere one of the most “outrageous, irresponsible government boondoggles ever created.”

“A bad idea on steroids,” is how the Professional Bail Agents of the United States, an industry trade group, described it in a nearly five-minute spot on its website. Read more

Slain Trenton car crash gunshot victim ID’d as Hunterdon County man

Brian Ficzko

Brian Ficzko

The gunshot victim who died Thursday night after crashing his vehicle in the North Ward has been identified as a suburban man who hailed from Hunterdon County.

Brian Ficzko, 40, of Flemington, crashed his car into a utility pole and another vehicle about 6 p.m. Thursday outside the Fast Trac Mini Mart along the 300 block of Mulberry Street, according to law-enforcement officials. Read more