Man accused in 2011 murder offered plea deal

A Trenton man accused of fatally shooting city pharmacist Arjun Reddy Dyapa in 2011 must decide whether he is going to plead guilty to an unrelated gun possession charge or take his case to trial, a judge said Tuesday.

Jamar Meyers, 28, has a backlog of cases, prosecutors said. He faces murder, robbery and felony murder in the shooting death of Dyapa, who was shot inside his pharmacy store in April 2011 after he refused to turn over prescription pills during an armed heist, prosecutors said.

Meyers has been incarcerated for four years while awaiting trial on a myriad of cases. Prosecutors’ plea bargain calls for Meyers to admit guilt to weapon possession for a 5-year sentence. He has enough jail credits for a time served sentence. Read more

Trenton man charged with murder offered plea deal

One of two Trenton men accused of gunning down 26-year-old Brandon Nance outside a city bakery in 2013 was offered a plea deal by prosecutors calling for a 28-year sentence.

Dante Alexander

Dante Alexander

Dante Alexander, 31, was indicted earlier this year on counts of murder and weapons offenses after prosecutors said he fatally shot Nance in broad daylight Aug. 29, 2013 in front of Italian People’s Bakery on Butler Street.

Under terms of the plea deal, Alexander would be required to plead guilty to aggravated manslaughter and an unrelated robbery. He would receive a concurrent 15-year sentence on the robbery charge, which stems from a 2013 armed holdup of two Philadelphia residents on Perry Street.
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Unity Walk’ in Trenton to visit sites of murdered victims

Residents gather for a prayer service on the steps of Shiloh Baptist Church on May 1, 2014, in observance of the National Day of Prayer.

Residents gather for a prayer service on the steps of Shiloh Baptist Church on May 1, 2014, in observance of the National Day of Prayer.

Like biblical verses, Rev. Lukata Mjumbe can recite the names of the city’s murder victims, the date they were killed and where.

In an attempt to humanize the victim, the executive director of Urban Mission Cabinet Inc. has made it his mission to learn what he can about the lives that ended too soon.

“I know these names because we pray about them by name when we come together,” Mjumbe said in an interview last week with other community religious leaders. “They’re no longer statistics for us.” Read more

Trenton man indicted in connection with 2014 murder of Keisha Alexander

A man accused of fatally stabbing 49-year-old Keisha Alexander last year has been indicted in connection with the case.

Jorge Rodriguez

Jorge Rodriguez

Jorge L. Rodriguez, 21, is accused of breaking into Alexander’s Edgewood Avenue apartment to commit a burglary and then stabbing her in the process.

According to prosecutors in the case, sometime before 8 a.m. on June 21, 2014, Rodriguez reached through a rear window to Alexander’s apartment and unlocked the back door. He then physically and sexually assaulted Alexander, and then stabbed her with a knife.

Police were dispatched to the apartment after a neighbor called emergency 911 and reported hearing a woman scream. Alexander was pronounced dead at the scene. Read more

Bail upheld for alleged accomplice in Trenton murder

TRENTON >> The attorney for an admitted drug dealer charged as an accomplice to murder rhapsodized at a Tuesday bail hearing about injustice. But prosecutors needed only point to the man’s previous rap sheet in order to convince Judge Robert Billmeier to leave bail unchanged.

Daniel McCargo

Daniel McCargo

Daniel McCargo, 29, who is being held on $300,000 cash-only bail, appeared to have everything going in his favor. His attorney, Maleika Montgomery, argued her client was not as “culpable” as alleged gunman Curtis Grier for the fatal shooting death of 24-year-old Jahmir Hall in April 2014.
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Trenton homicide suspect rejected plea deal that could have freed him

TRENTON >> Prosecutors had offered a Trenton man charged with murder a plea deal that would have led to murder charges being dropped if he agreed to cooperate and testify against his co-defendant, The Trentonian has learned.

Daniel McCargo

Daniel McCargo

The deal undermines Assistant Prosecutor Brian McCauley’s previous assertion after a status hearing earlier this year that Daniel McCargo, 28, is “equally culpable” for the fatal shooting death of 24-year-old Jahmir Hall.

McCauley confirmed such a deal was “floated” to McCargo, who was indicted as an accomplice on counts of first-degree murder, second-degree possession of a weapon for an unlawful purpose, second-degree unlawful possession of a weapon and second-degree certain persons not to possess a firearm.

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Victim of March house fire dies in hospital, death ruled a homicide

A man who suffered burns during a house fire last month died in the hospital Sunday and his death has been ruled a homicide.

The man, whose identity is still not known, suffered extensive burns during a March 12 house fire that occurred in the 200 block of Elmer Street.

“He passed away on Sunday and a post-mortem examination was conducted Wednesday, but he is still a John Doe,” Lt. Steven Varn said. Read more

Victim’s family removed from court after emotions flare

Accused killer Wayne Bush locked eyes with the mother of slain hip-hop artist Jafar Lewis and allegedly mouthed two words: “F– you.”

This was a man who had once attended holidays and family gatherings. So naturally, Lewis’ mother, Jacqueline, lashed out, launching into an expletive-laced tirade. Sheriff’s officers had to remove her from the courtroom when she interrupted the proceedings.

That was the divisive backdrop of this evidentiary hearing Wednesday in a case that has wrenched a family apart. Bush was engaged to the victim’s cousin, Ghadah, when he allegedly killed Lewis on Aug. 23, 2013 over a drug debt. Read more

Trenton murder suspect offered reduced sentence in exchange for help in another case

A city man accused of fatally shooting Naquan Ellis must decide whether cooperating with the state in an unrelated case is worth getting five years shaved off his sentence as part of a plea package presented by prosecutors Monday.

Grady A. Blue III

Grady A. Blue III

Grady Blue III, 22, was indicted in February on counts of murder, aggravated assault and weapons offenses in connection with the June 2014 death of 23-year-old Ellis, who suffered a gunshot wound to the chest after he was struck in a parking lot of the North 25 housing complex. A woman was also hit by gunfire but did not sustain serious injuries.
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Prosecutors hold course through a 10-year journey to a guilty verdict

The moment a jury foreman pronounced Jose “Boom Bat” Negrete guilty of ordering the killing of a gang “queen” Jeri Lynn Dotson and the near-strangulation of a gang turncoat Alex Ruiz in 2004, a single question danced in the minds of all those involved in what has become a decade-long ordeal.

Jose “Boom Bat” Negrete

Jose “Boom Bat” Negrete

Now that the whodunit aspect is settled, again, will this guilty verdict stand? It’s a fair question considering more than 10 years have elapsed since Negrete and several of his co-conspirators, holed up in his Brunswick Avenue residence, were rounded up by authorities in February 2005. In that time, Negrete had four trials, a span encompassing two Mercer County prosecutors.

Retired prosecutor Joe Bocchini was around for Negrete’s first three trials, which resulted in a hung jury and a guilty verdict, sandwiched around a trial that was scrapped shortly after jury selection. He was at Myrtle Beach Thursday when he received news of the guilty verdict.

“We went through one conviction, and we had the retrials,” Bocchini said, reflecting on the journey to get to this point. “The conviction here is very warranted; it was warranted the first time.

“It was nerve-wracking only to the extent that we knew he was guilty. We knew he deserved to be in jail. It was frustrating to go through the retrials. Negrete is where he belongs and should stay for the remainder of his days.”

While Bocchini had to settle for dialing up his former right-hand man, Acting Prosecutor Angelo Onofri had a firsthand look, seated a row behind Dotson’s family, keeping watch over them as the verdict was read. Read more