Zaire Smith | Homicide Watch Trenton news about Zaire Smithen-usThu, 28 Feb 2019 18:59:34 -0500Trenton gunman murders Mason’s barber in 2013 robbery, gets convicted at trial<a href=""><img class="size-full wp-image-7014" src="" alt="Zaire Smith" width="480" height="600" srcset=" 480w, 240w" sizes="(max-width: 480px) 100vw, 480px" /></a><p class="wp-caption-text">Zaire Smith</p> <p>A city man has been convicted of murdering popular local barber Rasheen Jones during the commission of a July 2013 armed robbery.</p> <p>Zaire K. Smith, 24, of Trenton, faces 30 years to life in prison after a jury found him guilty this week of first-degree felony murder and related offenses in the grisly slaying of Jones.</p> <p>The murder occurred on July 23, 2013, when Smith and co-defendant Knovell Desmond targeted Jones in a senseless stickup. <span id="more-7013"></span></p> <p>Jones, a 31-year-old father of three, was gunned down on East Stuyvesant Avenue while he was returning home from a trip he had made to a local convenience store, the victim of a robbery-turned-murder. He worked as a barber for 15 years and was remembered by family and friends as a hardworking family man.</p> <a href=""><img class="wp-image-1019 size-large" src="" alt="Rasheen Jones, pictured here with his 7-year-old daughter, was shot to death on July 23 in Trenton." width="500" height="515" /></a><p class="wp-caption-text">Rasheen Jones, pictured here with his 7-year-old daughter, was shot to death on July 23, 2013, in Trenton.</p> <a href=""><img class="size-medium wp-image-7015" src="" alt="Rasheen Jones" width="222" height="300" srcset=" 222w, 296w" sizes="(max-width: 222px) 100vw, 222px" /></a><p class="wp-caption-text">Rasheen Jones</p> <p>Desmond, 27, of Trenton, pleaded guilty in the case on Dec. 17, 2014, confessing to first-degree robbery in a plea deal that calls for his murder charges and weapons offenses to be disposed of at sentencing, according to court records.</p> <p>Smith took his case to trial, where a jury convicted him Monday of first-degree murder during the commission of a crime, two counts of first-degree armed robbery, two counts of second-degree possession of a firearm for unlawful purposes, and one count of second-degree unlawful possession of a handgun, according to the Mercer County Prosecutor’s Office.</p> <p>One month after the homicide, police filed complaint warrants charging both Smith and Desmond with murder and weapons offenses in the slaying of Jones. The U.S. Marshals Service New York/New Jersey Regional Fugitive Task Force arrested Smith in Trenton on Aug. 22, 2013, and arrested Desmond in Lindenwold on Aug. 30, 2013, authorities said.</p> <a href=""><img class="size-medium wp-image-7016" src="" alt="Knovell Desmond" width="240" height="300" srcset=" 240w, 480w" sizes="(max-width: 240px) 100vw, 240px" /></a><p class="wp-caption-text">Knovell Desmond</p> <p>Both defendants have been jailed at the Mercer County Correction Center on $1 million cash bail since their arrests, court records show.</p> <p>Represented by private attorney Alan D. Bowman, Smith is scheduled to be sentenced April 12 before Mercer County Superior Court Judge Thomas Brown. The convicted murderer is looking at decades upon decades of prison time for taking his case to trial and losing, marking another major victory for seasoned Supervising Assistant Prosecutor James Scott.</p> <p>Desmond is represented by pool attorney Tina M. Frost and will be sentenced at an undetermined date for his self-confessed role in the deadly armed robbery.</p> <p>Jones worked at Mason’s barber shop on Pennington Avenue. His violent death shocked the community.</p> <p>“They killed a working man!” Mason’s co-worker James Jackson said in a July 2013 interview with <em>The Trentonian</em>, tears running down his face. “I hate that he left us, but now he is at peace. All he was doing was taking care of his kids and they killed him.”</p> Sulaiman Abdur-RahmanThu, 28 Feb 2019 18:59:34 -0500 JonesKnovell DesmondZaire SmithTrenton man accused of killing barber rejects plea deal<p>A Trenton man suspected of killing of a city barber in 2013 has rejected prosecutors’ final plea offer and will head to trial.</p> <p><a href="">Zaire Smith</a> is the only remaining co-defendant in the murder of 20-year-old <a href="">Rasheen Jones</a>, who was shot in the head July 23, 2013, in the city’s West Ward, following a botched robbery, authorities have said.</p> <p>Jones had worked for 15 years cutting hair at Mason’s barbershop before he was gunned down while walking home from a convenience store. He left behind two daughters, aged 5 and 7.</p> <p>Smith was arrested alongside <a href="">Knovell Desmond</a> in connection with the murder. However, Desmond resolved murder charges by pleading guilty to two counts of robbery and a weapons count in exchange for a 10-year state prison sentence. <span id="more-3520"></span></p> <p>It remains to be seen whether Desmond will testify against Smith at trial as prosecutors did not reveal at his guilty plea whether cooperation was required as part of his deal.</p> <p>That leaves Smith, who has “consistently maintained his innocence, said his attorney, Alan Bowman.</p> <p>To the contrary, prosecutors have said Smith was the one who pulled the trigger. On Monday, Smith rejected prosecutors’ plea offer calling for a 25-year prison sentence for aggravated manslaughter.</p> <p>Bowman said at the hearing he uncovered “substantial information” during his investigation of the murder that he contends will exonerate his client. He did elaborate in open court on the nature of the information, but shared it during a private off-the-record conversation with Assistant Prosecutor James Scott.</p> <p>Smith is expected back in court for a pretrial conference in November.</p> Isaac AviluceaMon, 17 Aug 2015 19:05:13 -0400 JonesKnovell DesmondZaire SmithKnovell Desmond pleads down to first-degree robbery<p>Prosecutors aren’t saying whether one of two men arrested in the slaying of a city barber must testify against co-defendant and alleged gunman <a href="">Zaire Smith</a> as part of a plea deal that calls for a deacade-long prison sentence. <span id="more-2493"></span></p> <p><a href="">Knovell Desmond</a>, 22, was indicted for murder, two counts of robbery and weapons charges for his role in the shooting death of 20-year-old <a href="">Rasheen Jones</a>. Jones was shot in the head on July 23, 2013, in the city’s West Ward following a botched robbery. Desmond and Smith were arrested and charged in connection with the murder.</p> <p>As part of a plea bargain, Desmond agreed to admit guilt to first-degree robbery during an appearance Wednesday in Superior Court. In exchange, prosecutors agreed to drop murder and weapons charges.</p> <p>Prosecutors have said Smith, 20, was the one who pulled the trigger. He has been offered a deal that calls for a 25-year sentence if he pleads guilty to aggravated manslaughter, prosecutors said.</p> <p>Jones worked for 15 years cutting hair at Mason’s barbershop before he was gunned down while walking home from a convenience store. He left behind two daughters, aged 5 and 7, at the time.</p> Isaac AviluceaThu, 18 Dec 2014 10:13:09 -0500 JonesKnovell DesmondZaire Smith