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News From the Essex County Prosecutor's Office

Cynthia Cumming

Wednesday, July 30, 2014 • 8:13pm

WEST ORANGE, NJ - The Essex County Prosecutor's Office has issued several newsworthy press releases of import over the past week. 

July 30 - Shooting of Newark Police Officer

Acting Essex County Prosecutor Carolyn A. Murray and Newark Police Director Eugene Venable announced today that the Essex County Prosecutor’s Office and the Newark Police Department are investigating the shooting of a Newark police officer.

“First and foremost, we are relieved that there has not been any loss of life. We expect the officer and the suspect to recover. While the investigation is ongoing, one thing is clear, police officers put their lives on the line everyday for the people who live and work in this city. And, the Essex County Prosecutor’s Office will continue to collaborate with the Newark Police Department to ensure the city is a safer place,’’ said Acting Prosecutor Murray, commending the Newark Police Department.

The 19-year veteran of the Newark Police Department was shot in the leg as he responded to a robbery in progress in the 300 block of Clinton Avenue. His injuries were not life threatening and he was transported to University Hospital. The suspect was also shot. He is hospitalized at University Hospital and is under armed guard. He is expected to be charged later today, said Chief Assistant Prosecutor Thomas Fennelly.

“With the help of the community, police were able to quickly locate the officer and the suspect effectively stopping an incident that could have been a lot worse,” said Police Director Venable. “I thank the community and hope for continued support to as we go forward in our quest to improve the quality of life for all citizens and visitors of the great city of Newark,” he added.

July 28 - Newark Resident Pleads Guilty to Aggravated Arson

Eradin Rodriguez, 54, of Newark pled guilty to one count of aggravated arson before the Honorable Sherry Hutchins-Henderson, Judge of the Superior Court and admitted that on Dec. 31, 2012 he threw rocks into the homes of Newark residents at approximately 5:00 a.m. Residents observed Rodriguez break the window of a 2011 red Toyota Tacoma pick up truck parked in the 400 block of North 5th Street and set the car on fire.

Witnesses called the Newark police and found Rodriguez in the kitchen of an abandoned home. He was arrested and taken into custody.

Rodriguez entered a guilty plea and will be sentenced on September 26. Under the terms of the plea agreement he will be sentenced to eight years and must serve 85 per cent of the sentence before parole eligibility.

“We believe this is a just resolution of a case involving a man who poses a serious danger to the community,’’ said Assistant Prosecutor Jason Hollingsworth, who handled the case. “Clearly his prior conviction did not deter him.’’

July 24 - Co-defendant in Seton Hall Murder Case Gets 15 Years

Honorable Robert H. Gardner, Judge of the Superior Court, sentenced Marcus J. Bascus, 23, of East Orange to 15 years in New Jersey State Prison for his role in the murder of Jessica A. Moore, a 19-year-old Seton Hall sophomore from Virginia. Bascus must serve 85 percent of his sentence before he is eligible for parole.

The coed was killed om Sept. 25, 2010, while attending an off-campus party on South Clinton Street in East Orange. After being asked to leave the party, Nicholas Welch, 29, of East Orange left, got a gun from Bascus and came back to the party, opening fire on students. In addition to Moore, four other students were shot.

Bascus was captured in Wilkes Barre, Pa. On March 31, a jury convicted Welch of the murder of Jessica Moore. He was also found guilty of attempting to murder four other students at the party--Yvan Christophe, Nakeisha Vanterpool, Nicosia Henry and Daryl Elmore--all of whom were shot, but survived the attack.

Welch is serving an 80-year sentence. After Welch was sentenced Bascus, who faced murder and attempted murder charges, entered a guilty plea to conspiracy on June 5. Bascus admitted giving Welch the gun used to kill Moore.

Assistant Prosecutor Romesh Sukhdeo, who handled both the Welch and Bascus cases said, “We must send the message that this type of conduct cannot be tolerated. These were good kids, innocent kids, simply trying to enjoy a party.’’

July 23 - Newark Police Officer Indicted

21-year veteran police officer David Hudson, 43, of Irvington was indicted for pursuing a couple and their 11-year-old son and ultimately pulling a gun on the father following a traffic dispute.

In a case of road rage on March 8, the off-duty Hudson followed the car in question after the incident at Central Avenue and West Market Street on to Interstate 280 and ultimately to the area of Broad Street to Third Avenue. He exited his mint green Cadillac to confront the father and point a gun at him. It is alleged that at that time Officer Hudson was not in lawful possession of the handgun he was carrying that day.

Hudson was charged in the indictment with official misconduct, aggravated assault by pointing a firearm, unlawful possession of a weapon and possession of a weapon for an unlawful purpose. He will appear in court on August 8.

July 21 - Two Arrested in Murder of East Orange Man

Acting Essex County Prosecutor Carolyn A. Murray and Newark Police Director Eugene Venable announced that Kaseem Callender, 18, of Newark and a 17-year-old juvenile were arrested for the murder of Raheem Hughee, 33, of East Orange.

On June 28, Hughee was shot and killed in the area of 41-45 Mountain View Avenue in Newark. On July 17, a juvenile, who is not being named at this time because of his age, and Callender were arrested for the murder.

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