Trenton man at center of defense was arrested with Shaheed Brown in 2014

When a former Newark gang member befriended a city man, the last thing he could have envisioned was being the individual a defense attorney would accuse of pulling off what a prosecutor described this week as the brutal assassination of a Ewing man.

But that is the position Alvie Vereen is in, testing the strength of his friendship with suspected killer Shaheed Brown.

The two were said at trial to be close, Assistant Prosecutor Brian McCauley suggesting Vereen followed Brown around like a “puppy dog” outside of a city bar that became the scene of a grisly murder.

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

Brown is on trial for a second time for allegedly gunning down Enrico Smalley Jr. on July 12, 2014, outside of La Guira Bar.

While it has been asked to access the credibility of a third-party guilt defense implicating Vereen, the jury does not know Brown and Vereen were arrested together in Newark for an alleged carjacking, about a month after Smalley was gunned down, according to sources with knowledge of the arrest.Read more

Ewing man’s bail hearing cancelled over attorney conflict

The bail hearing for a Ewing man accused of gunning down Jermaine “Mooky” Johnson was moved to next week because an attorney said she was unable to represent him.

Jermaine "Mooky" Johnson (Facebook photo)

Jermaine “Mooky” Johnson (Facebook photo)

Caroline Turner, an attorney for 32-year-old Jamar McCoy, said it would be inappropriate for her to argue the Ewing man’s bail because she represents Johnson’s brother in another criminal matter.

Judge Peter Warshaw agreed to push back McCoy’s bail hearing until Monday. He is charged with murder and weapons offenses for allegedly gunning down Johnson, 26, on April 26, while he sat inside of a Nissan Murano parked in the driveway of a Hillcrest Avenue residence.Read more

Prosecutor at Shaheed Brown retrial: ‘This was an assassination’

Edward Heyburn thinks he got it right when he said another man killed a Ewing man outside a Trenton bar.

In his closing arguments Tuesday, the defense attorney slammed the Mercer

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

County Homicide Task Force, a special team of investigators formed in 2013 to combat job cutbacks, for its Descartian logic in fingering former Newark gang member Shaheed Brown for the murder of Enrico Smalley Jr. outside of La Guira Bar on July 12, 2014.

“Not everybody acts right. Not everybody does their job,” Heyburn said. “Detective [Joseph] Itri assumed he was right.”Read more

City man with ties to notorious family testifies in Shaheed Brown retrial

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

A city man with ties to a notorious Trenton family said Monday he was headed to a weed-filled lot to relieve himself when a Ewing man was gunned down outside a troubled city bar.

Wearing a green prison jumpsuit, his hands shackled in front of him and his hair in tight cornrows that exposed parts of his scalp, Raesean Sutphin, 21, told jurors that he saw Shaheed Brown as he rounded the corner from a vacant lot after hearing gunshots.

Brown is being tried a second time for murder after his initial trial ended last year in a hung jury.Read more

Teen arrested for killing Trenton teen Ciony Kirkman could be tried in adult court

Prosecutors will try a city teen accused of fatally shooting 16-year-old Ciony Kirkman as an adult, officials confirmed.

Ciony Kirkman (contributed photo)

Ciony Kirkman (contributed photo)

The 17-year-old boy has been charged with murder, six counts of aggravated assault and weapons offenses. His name and photo have not been released because of his age.

Casey DeBlasio, spokeswoman for the Mercer County Prosecutor’s Office, said prosecutors will ask a judge to allow them to try the teen as an adult. Prosecutors have 30 days to ask for the waiver to adult court, she said.Read more

Trenton murder trial ends for the week on contentious note

The streets of Trenton probably know who killed Enrico Smalley Jr.

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

State Police Detective Joseph Itri spent three days on the witness stand saying the evidence from his investigation pointed squarely at former Newark gang member Shaheed Brown, a man with a violent past who was the last person with the Ewing man moments before he was gunned down July 12, 2014, outside La Guira Bar.

But as criminal trials prove, nothing is straightforward, especially when defense attorney Edward Heyburn is involved. His approach, implicating another man, Alvie “King” Vereen, has not sat well with Smalley’s family.Read more

Defense attorney works third-party guilt defense at Trenton murder retrial for Shaheed Brown

Two men were within feet of a Ewing man when he was executed outside of a city bar.

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.

One is dead. Another altered his appearance and misled a detective who tried to interview him three times, following the murder of Enrico Smalley Jr., who was gunned around 1:21 a.m. on July 12, 2014 outside of La Guira Bar.

State Police Detective Joseph Itri referred to Rodney Sutphin and Alvie “King” Vereen throughout his time on the stand under cross examination Wednesday.

And like he did at the first trial, defense attorney Edward Heyburn spent much of the day chiseling out a third-party guilt defense. He goaded Itri about drawing up an arrest warrant for Brown within days of the murder, saying he did not have probable cause and had not eliminated Vereen and Sutphin as suspects prior to focusing on his client.Read more

Defense attorney says his client ‘caught in crossfire’ between judge, newspaper’s feud

An attorney for a Trenton man on trial for murder said a judge has jeopardized his client’s right to a fair trial over a vendetta with a newspaper reporter.

Edward Heyburn

Edward Heyburn

Defense attorney Edward Heyburn said in court papers filed last week that his client, former Newark gang member Shaheed Brown, has found himself  “caught in the crossfire” of a public feud between Judge Andrew Smithson and The Trentonian, which was reignited last week when the judge closed the courtroom to discuss critical comments Heyburn made about the lead detective in the case.

Heyburn said his client’s Sixth Amendment rights were being infringed upon by the spat.

The Trentonian requested Heyburn’s motion last week but was told by court officials that Smithson had to approve its release before it could be made public.Read more

Male teen arrested in connection with Ciony Kirkman’s death

Sunday's third annual Unity Walk attracted more than 100 people who marched through the city visiting places where homicide victims have been slain. (Penny Ray - Trentonian)

Sunday’s third annual Unity Walk attracted more than 100 people who marched through the city visiting places where homicide victims have been slain. (Penny Ray - Trentonian)

A city teen was arrested last week in connection with the shooting death of 16-year-old Ciony Kirkman.

Prosecutors say a 17-year-old male, whose name has not been released because he is a juvenile, was arrested late Friday at a relative’s house in the city and charged in connection with Kirkman’s death. Read more

Ewing man arrested for Mooky Johnson murder

Jamar McCoy

Jamar McCoy

A Ewing man has been arrested in connection with the murder of Jermaine “Mooky” Johnson, who was gunned down last week.

Jamar McCoy, 32, was arrested early Sunday morning and charged with murder and related weapons offenses for allegedly shooting Johnson this past Friday. Read more