Prosecutors name accused killer charged with shooting Trenton teen

A city teenager accused of killing 16-year-old Ciony Kirkman was quietly waived up as an adult last month to face murder charges in a random killing stemming from an apparent dispute over music disrespectful of a neighborhood gang.

Ciony Kirkman (contributed photo)

Ciony Kirkman (contributed photo)

Teenager Peter Charles Jr. has been charged with murder, six counts of aggravated assault and weapons offenses in connection with the April 24 slaying of Kirkman, who was shot in the head while inside a stolen van with six others minors.

A spokeswoman for the prosecutor’s office said criminal complaints were filed in October against Charles, who was 17 years old at the time of the killing. He turned 18 in July.Read more

Convicted cop son’s killer gets 23 years

Luddie Austin thought about tracking down and killing the man who helped kill his son, James, in February 2013.

(left to right) Amanda Austin holding Jakalya, one of James Austin's twin daughters, Kim Bellamy, and Luddie Austin holding the other twin Janalya.

(left to right) Amanda Austin holding Jakalya, one of James Austin’s twin daughters, Kim Bellamy, and Luddie Austin holding the other twin Janalya.

On those days, when he contemplated taking out convicted killer Raheem Currie, the retired Trenton Police sergeant found solace in the people in his corner. Guys like Lester Ponder, a fellow veteran and close family friend.

It also helped that Luddie Austin remembered when his son was 12 years old, waiting deep for the kickoff during a youth football game for the Willingboro Panthers. They were playing the Trenton Tornadoes, and father and son made a little wager.Read more

Jury acquits one, hangs on other in Route 29 slay case

Andre “Ceto” Romero was a friend of Daquan Dowling, the man shot to death four years ago in a drive-by along a busy capital city highway.

As kids, they played at parks together. They went swimming. They ate together. They had sleepovers at Dowling’s mother’s home in Trenton.

Andre Romero

Andre Romero

“I raised that boy with my son,” said Saundra Dowling, Daquan’s mother. “In the beginning, I said ‘Ceto’ didn’t do it.”

In the end, the jury, after deliberating for roughly six hours, decided “Ceto” didn’t do it, either – a “disgusting” decision that caused Dowling’s relatives to lose faith in the jury system.

Dowling was struck in the head and killed instantly, on Jan. 30, 2012, as he drove along Route 29 in Trenton with passenger Morris Satchel.

“I know if they could get away with murder, I know I could,” said Samaijah Edwards, Dowling’s sister.Read more

Prosecutors: Suspect stomped Trenton teen to make sure he was dead

Omar Kennedy is accused of delivering the coupe de grace, if not the kill shot.

Afterwards, he was all smiles about it, prosecutors said.

Omar Kennedy (

Omar Kennedy (

Kennedy, 34, and two others are charged with murder and weapons offenses after they walked 19-year-old Lance Beckett into an alleyway where he was fatally shot the afternoon of Sept. 18, prosecutors said at a bail hearing Thursday.

One of the suspects let off four shots, mortally wounding the city teenager.

For good measure, Kennedy stomped on Beckett’s head “to ensure he was dead,” while he bled out in a wooded area near East Stuyvesant Avenue,  Assistant Prosecutor Tim Ward said.Read more

Attorneys for suspected Route 29 killers say ‘squealers’ are liars

An attorney for one of the Route 29 murder suspects played the old switcheroo in his closing argument to jurors Tuesday, pinning the crime on a man who admitted lifting the car used in the drive-by slay.

Andre Romero

Andre Romero

Defense attorney Patrick O’Hara said prosecutors didn’t have physical evidence showing his client Andre Romero was inside a stolen Chrysler Sebring on Jan. 30, 2012.

However, there was plenty of car thief Louis Alvarado’s DNA inside the car – a fingerprint on the outside of the vehicle and a cigarette butt with his saliva on it – that detectives simply “turned their backs” on.

“What links my client, for sure, with that car? There’s more evidence this guy was there,” O’Hara said, fingering his pen toward Alvarado’s name on an easel.Read more

Judge tosses charges against suspected Route 29 killers

Well, they didn’t know the car was stolen.

That’s the most that can be said at this point for William “Bill Bill” Mitchell and Andre Romero, the suspected Route 29 killers on trial for allegedly shooting 23-year-old Daquan Dowling to death while they motored down the highway in Trenton in January 2012.

Andre Romero

Andre Romero

A judge dismissed counts of receiving stolen property against each man, after prosecutors conceded there was not enough evidence that they knew they were rolling around in a stolen Chrysler Sebring the day of the Jan. 30, 2012 murder.

The car was lifted outside a troubled Trenton bar by a man named Louis Alvarado, who later pleaded guilty to as much. He turned over the keys to Anthony Marks, one of four men originally charged with the murder of Dowling.Read more

Defense attorney to getaway driver: ‘You didn’t hit the brake’

Getaway driver Anthony Marks said Thursday at the murder trial of two friends that he warned one of the suspected killers not to pull the trigger as they drove down the highway in the capital city four years ago.

Murder victim Daquan Dowling

Murder victim Daquan Dowling

Marks said that when best friend William “Bill Bill” Mitchell announced to the car he planned to light up a white Ford Taurus carrying a rival along Route 29, Marks responded: “No don’t do it. Not right here.”

Mitchell did it anyway, Marks said, after his co-defendant, Andre Romero, opened fire first that fateful day in January 2012.

Twenty-three-year-old Daquan Dowling was struck in the head in a hail of bullets, while the suspected killers gunned for his passenger, Morris Satchel.Read more

Defense attorneys contend Lawrence man is prosecutors’ pet in Route 29 slay

Hours before a city man was gunned down in a cold blood as he drove unsuspectingly along a busy Trenton highway, Jamar Square was putting on a little reggae show for “some females” outside of a bodega.

Murder victim Daquan Dowling

Murder victim Daquan Dowling

He did the whole Damian Marley-like song and dance, even donning a stitch cap with long, fake dreadlocks.

“You know how to put on a show and make sure people are paying attention and you’re playing what they want to hear?” defense attorney Christopher Campbell asked Square on Tuesday, at the murder trial of two city men.

“I try,” he said.Read more

Convicted killer mulls 25 years in another Trenton slaying

A reputed Bloods gangster who is already serving an 18-year sentence for executing an ex-con who was ready to testify against another gangster could spent another quarter century behind bars if he accepts the rap killing another city man.

Mayleek McInnis

Mayleek McInnis

Mayleek McInnis is imprisoned for the aggravated manslaughter of fellow gangster Shawn Travis, who was shot in the head on April Fools’ Day in 2008.

Now prosecutors want him to spend 25 years in prison for the 2005 shooting death of Omar Murphy, who was gunned down near the intersection of Stuyvesant and Ellsworth avenues

Two years ago, prosecutors said witnesses had stepped forward and pegged McInnis as the killer.Read more

PROSECUTORS: Two men indicted for murder of Elvin Kimble

A Mercer County Grand Jury has returned indictments against two men in the murder of 19-year-old Elvin Kimble.
The 19-year-old was gunned down on a city street in November 2015.

Elvin Kimble

Elvin Kimble

According to the prosecutor’s office that on November 24, 2015 around 12:39 a.m., police officers were dispatched to the area of Chestnut Avenue and Rusling Street on a report of shots fired. Officers arrived and found evidence of a shootout between at least two people on either side of Rusling Street, but did not locate a victim.

Later, at 6:18 a.m. police were called to 112 Rusling Street after receiving a report that a resident’s vehicle was struck by gunfire. When police responded, a Division Street resident approached the officers to report a man lying dead between a parked car and a fence in his driveway. That man was later identified as Elvin Kimble; he suffered a gunshot wound and was pronounced dead at the scene.

Jermaine Johnson

Jermaine Johnson

Following an investigation by Detective Nancy Diaz and the Mercer County Homicide Task Force, complaints were signed on January 14, 2014 charging Gary Spears and Jermaine Johnson with Kimble’s murder. The pair remain in jail on $1 million bail.

Prosecutors said that Spears, 34, of Trenton, and Johnson, 40, of Ewing, were each charged on one count of first degree murder, one count of possession of a weapon for an unlawful purpose, and one count of second degree unlawful possession of a handgun. Spears was also indicted on one count of second degree certain person not to possess a firearm.

The case was presented to the grand jury by Assistant Prosecutor Timothy Ward.

In January 2015, Ward said that an hour before Kimble was shot he was seen breaking into Johnson’s vehicle. Ward said in January that according to an unnamed witness Johnson gave chase and Kimble allegedly fired in his direction.

It is alleged that Johnson recruited the help of Gary Spears to retaliate against Kimble. At a January 2015 bail hearing prosecutors believed that Spears fired the shot that ended Kimble’s life.