There are a lot of people who have forgotten about the heinous Newark schoolyard killings last year. (Background links.)
And neither have law enforcement authorities and prosecutors in New Jersey, who have worked hard over the past year to bring the MS-13-linked barbarians to justice.
Six indictments were handed down today. And officials are now formally acknowledging the illegal alien gang ties and motivations behind the brutal crimes:
Prosecutors said for the first time today that the slayings of three college students in a Newark schoolyard last year had a “strong gang component” that was downplayed at the time for fear of inflaming the city.
The Essex County Prosecutor’s Office has said for months that some of the defendants had links to the MS-13 street gang but that their status may not have played a role in the robbery and murder of the victims.
But prosecutors said today that gang membership was clearly a motive in the killings, although they stopped short of calling it the prime motive and would not say it was a gang initiation.
“Certainly there was a strong gang component underlying each of these crimes,” said Thomas McTigue, Essex County assistant prosecutor.
McTigue said none of the defendants was charged under state gang statutes in the 19-count indictment returned today, but he said his office would introduce evidence of gang motivation in the prosecution.
The indictment brought charges of murder, robbery, weapons offenses and other crimes against Rodolfo Godinez, 25; his 17-year-old brother, Alexander Alfaro; Jose Lachira Carranza, 29; Melvin Jovel, 19; Shahid Baskerville, 16; and Gerardo Gomez, 16.
The four students were hanging out behind Mount Vernon School on Aug. 4, 2007, when they were confronted by their attackers with a handgun and a machete. Three of the victims — Terrance Aeriel, 18, Dashon Harvey, 20, and Iofemi Hightower, 20 — were killed when they were lined up against the wall and shot in the back of the head. Terrance’s sister, Natasha Aeriel, survived after being shot in the face and left for dead.
All of the victims were robbed, and Aeriel and the group’s other female, Iofemi Hightower, were sexually molested and cut with machetes and knives, according to a lawsuit recently filed against the city school system and the alleged killers.
You’ll recall that Carranza was an i llegal alien out on bail
on child abuse charges. Victim Dashon Harvey’s dad decried the sanctuary climate:
“This is one that slipped through the cracks. He’s an illegal alien,” said outraged dad James Harvey, whose son Dashon was murdered last Saturday, along with Terrance Aeriel and Iofemi Hightower.
While 28-year-old day laborer Jose Lachira Carranza was behind bars yesterday, prosecutors arrested a third suspect, who is 15 years old, in Morristown, and charged him with felony murder.
Another 15-year-old has also been charged.
Harvey said that Carranza, the alleged ringleader, “should never have been out in the first
“He’s got child abuse charges. He’s got a weapon. It’s an outrage to the justice system and the community that he’s out.”
Yet, to point out these deadly lapses is to invite spittle-flecked accusations of racism from open-borders zealots.
Eternal shame on them.