Trenton man gets 38 years, says nothing to families of slain teens

Alton Jones, the notorious half-brother of the Skillman twins, was bent on settling a score. But he missed his target twice, instead killing two innocent bystanders in a span of three days on the streets of Trenton, prosecutors said.

His actions “literally broke” a mother’s heart – she died a year after her daughter, whom family affectionately dubbed the “snack baby” because of her affinity for sweets, was fatally shot in the stomach behind the Rowan Towers on West State Street in Trenton.

Alton Jones

Alton Jones

Jones was sent to prison Friday for 38 years – 32 which he must serve before he could be paroled – for killing victims Rayshawn Ransom and Tierra Green, both 19, days apart in June 2013.

Jones – who fled to New Haven, Conn., and was arrested after a police standoff – pleaded guilty as part of a plea deal with prosecutors earlier this year to two counts of aggravated manslaughter.

He sat blankly and coldly while listening as the victims’ families gave tear-filled tributes to their loved ones.Read more

Woman shot to death in daytime shooting

Police investigate a homicide in the 200 block of Spring Street on Friday Sept. 9, 2016. (David Foster - The Trentonian)

Police investigate a homicide in the 200 block of Spring Street on Friday Sept. 9, 2016. (David Foster - The Trentonian)

A 20-year-old woman was shot to death inside her city apartment Friday morning on the 200 block of Spring Street.

Officers responded to the house at 11:13 a.m. for a report of a shooting in progress,
Lt. Stephen Varn said. When police arrived, they found the victim in the second floor bedroom suffering from a gunshot wound to the shoulder area, authorities said. Read more

Police investigating homicide on Roosevelt Street

Police investigate a homicide in an alley off the 500 block of Roosevelt Street Friday night.  (John Berry — The Trentonian)

Police investigate a homicide in an alley off the 500 block of Roosevelt Street Friday night.
(John Berry — The Trentonian)

Police are investigating an apparent homicide in the 500 block of Roosevelt Street Friday night that left one man dead.

First Assistant Prosecutor Doris Galuchie told The Trentonian that 20-year-old Jamal Laramore was shot to death in the 500 block of Roosevelt Street. Galuchie said that police received the call around 6:59 p.m. Read more

Man killed by off-duty cop during struggle for a gun: Prosecutors

A man was shot and killed by an off-duty police officer here in the 500 block of Roosevelt Street.

A man was shot and killed by an off-duty police officer here in the 500 block of Roosevelt Street.

A city man was shot and killed Saturday night after he allegedly tried to wrestle a handgun away from an off-duty police officer. Read more

Charges against man in Lamberton Street beating upgraded to murder

Jonathan Weathers

Jonathan Weathers

Charges filed against a Trenton man accused of brutally beating a well-respected member of the capital city’s arts and music community have been upgraded to murder.

Jonathan Weathers, 25, has been charged with murder and felony murder in connection with the death of 60-year-old Stephen Merrill.

Weathers has been in jail ever since his August 10 arrest for allegedly beating Merrill on Lamberton Street the week prior. Read more

Trenton men get life for murder of Mercer corrections officer

Former Mercer County corrections officer Carl Batie had a “heart as big as this world” and the swagger of a GQ model, his colleagues and family members said.

Elaine Batie, Carl’s mother, daubed her eyes while remembering the moment her second-oldest son was placed into her arms on March 3, 1985. She smiled so much her “cheeks began to hurt.”

Maurice Skillman

Maurice Skillman

That smile disappeared Nov 11, 2012, when Batie was shot in the head while celebrating the re-election of President Barack Obama with his brother, Karshawn, at a Trenton banquet hall.

“That smile I had on my face for 27 years became a frown,” Elaine Batie said. “Every day I think he’s coming home through the front door from a long day at work.”

Before a packed courtroom Friday in Mercer County criminal court, a judge handed life sentences to two city men for their roles in taking Batie’s life.Read more

Man beaten on Lamberton Street dies in hospital

Stephen Merrill

Stephen Merrill

The man who was brutally beaten while walking home earlier this month has died in the hospital. He was very active in Trenton’s arts and music community, and his death has saddened all who knew him.

He was the kind of guy who makes the city of Trenton special,” TC Nelson, owner of Trenton Social, told The Trentonian after hearing the news Thursday. “He was supportive of everything and everyone who was trying to do something positive in the city.”

Stephen Merrill, 60, was brutally beaten around 3 a.m. August 2 in the 900 block of Lamberton Street. He suffered a brain bleed, a collapsed lung, facial fractures, a broken arm and broken ribs. Merrill died in the hospital Wednesday after being taken off of life support. An autopsy to determine the official cause and manner of his death is scheduled for Friday. Read more

Trenton man denies killing friend over drug debt

A city man who may have shot another man to death over a drug debt denies being involved in his friend’s death.

But Assistant Prosecutor Tim Ward said at a bail hearing Monday morning that at least one witness identified 37-year-old Alberto Perez, who has been charged with murder and weapons offenses, as the man behind the fatal Aug. 5 shooting of Jonathan Jimenez.

Alberto Perez

Alberto Perez

Jimenez was shot in the chest and found in the street on the first block of Cummings Avenue.

A judge maintained Perez’s bail at $750,000 after hearing from prosecutors, who said a witness told police that after the shooting, Perez fled in a Honda Civic that was later located a few blocks away from the slaying.

Perez lived a short distance away from the murder, on Anderson Street.Read more

Man charged in connection with Chambersburg murder

Alberto Perez

Alberto Perez

A city man accused of killing his close friend may have pulled the trigger over an $80 drug debt.

Alberto A. Perez, 37, is charged with murder and related weapons offenses for allegedly killing Jonathan Jimenez, who was gunned down last Friday.

Jonathan’s relatives say he and Perez were close friends, and that they may have argued over an $80 debt.

Police sources told The Trentonian the argument regarded a drug debt.

They were close enough that they would eat from the same plate,” Jonathan’s estranged wife Andrea Vargas said, adding that she doesn’t understand why someone would kill their own friend. “They were definitely friends. He attended a baby shower with Jonathan.”

Officials say Perez was arrested in connection with unrelated outstanding warrants this past weekend. Prosecutor’s charged him with murder Tuesday afternoon.

Jimenez, who is originally from Puerto Rico but has lived in Trenton for more than a decade, was gunned down in the first block of Cummings Avenue around 10:30 p.m. August 5. His family says he had moved into a home on that block three days prior to his death. When police arrived at the scene, they found Jimenez lying in the street suffering from a gunshot wound through his chest. He was later pronounced dead at the hospital. Read more

Community mourns death of Trenton man killed Friday

This makeshift memorial honoring Jonathan Jimenez is located in the 500 block of Emory Avenue. (Penny Ray - Trentonian)

This makeshift memorial honoring Jonathan Jimenez is located in the 500 block of Emory Avenue. (Penny Ray - Trentonian)

A woman who was walking across Emory Avenue Sunday afternoon noticed a makeshift memorial in honor of Jonathan Jimenez and made the sign of the cross on her body. The woman doesn’t know Jimenez, nor any of his family, but it was a gesture of understanding and faith that justice will prevail.

Jimenez, 32, was shot and killed in the Chambersburg section of the city outside of his Cummings Avenue home Friday night. His relatives say he moved into the property three days prior to his death.

Jimenez left behind three children: a 10-year-old son and two daughters, ages 15 and 11. He also has two brothers living in Trenton, one of whom is his twin. Read more