Man Faces 20 Years for Armed Robbery at Vineland Bank

A man faces 20 years in state prison for holding up a Vineland bank four years ago, authorities say.

Leonard Johnson, 53, of Millville was found guilty in Superior Court this week of first-degree armed robbery, according to Cumberland County Prosecutor Jennifer Webb-McRae.

Authorities say Johnson went into the Susquehanna Bank at the intersection of Garden Road and Delsea Drive on April 24, 2013, where he gave a teller a note demanding money and told her he had a gun.

He then fled the area on a bicycle, Webb-McRae said. Authorities did not say how much cash he got.

Johnson was arrested after a joint investigation involving the Vineland Police Department, New Jersey State Police and the FBI.

Sentencing is scheduled for Nov. 3. Along with facing 20 years in prison, Johnson will be subject to the No Early Release Act, Webb-McRae said.

The three-week trial was held before Superior Court Judge Cristen D’Arrigo. Elizabeth Vogelsong prosecuted the case and attorney Terry Stomel represented Johnson.


Man Charged in Armed Robbery of Pennsville Market

Authorities say they have arrested the armed man who is accused of holding up Rachel’s Market early Friday morning.
Juan Garduno-Reza, 23, of Penns Grove has been charged with robbery, unlawful possession of a weapon, possession of a weapon for an unlawful purpose and theft in the incident,
Pennsville Chief of Police Allen J. Cummings said Sunday.
Thanks to an anonymous tip through social media, officers tracked Garduno-Reza down to a home on Miramar Drive in Pennsville where he ultimately was arrested Saturday,
according to Cummings.
Garduno-Reza had outstanding warrants against him.

Car Damaged by Gunfire in Jersey City

A car was damaged by gunfire early Sunday morning, officials said.

Shots were fired near Communipaw Avenue and Van Horne Street at about 3 a.m., city spokeswoman Jennifer Morrill said.

No one was injured or arrested in the shooting, she said.

Jersey Journal freelance photographer was at the scene at about 10 a.m., where police were removing a car that was struck by multiple bullets.

2 Injured in Drive-By Shooting in Trenton

Police say two people were injured in a shooting Sunday and a man was arrested on unrelated weapons charges at the scene.
The shooting happened around 5 p.m. on the 800 block of Stuyvesant Avenue, police said.
Officers responding to a report of shots fired found casings and later received information that two men — ages 17 and 24 — arrived at Capital Health Regional Medical Center with gunshot wounds.
They told police they were in the area when a dark-colored vehicle drove by and began shooting at them, police said. Both were shot in the torso, but are in stable condition, police said.
The Shooting Response Team continues to investigate.
While detectives were investigating Sunday, police say a “highly intoxicated” man tried to enter the crime scene and was behaving in a “tumultuous” manner.
He was armed with a knife and spat at officers trying to take him into custody, police said.
Kyle Stephen, 51, is charged with throwing bodily fluid on a law enforcement officer, weapons offenses, improper behavior and obstructing the administration of law.

A 68-year- old man was killed in an apartment fire Tuesday morning, authorities said. 

Tyrone Heard was found in his first-floor apartment at the Seth Boyden Apartments when firefighters went in to extinguish the blaze, Acting Essex County Prosecutor Robert D.

Laurino and Newark Public Safety Director Anthony F. Ambrose said.

He was pronounced dead at 1:33 a.m. after officials were notified of the fire at 12:55 a.m., authorities said.

The cause of Heard’s death is pending an autopsy.

The Newark Fire Department and the Essex County Prosecutor’s Office’s Homicide and Major Crimes Task Force are investigating the blaze.

Suspended Jersey City Cop Doing Twice the Speed Limit Before Crash

Authorities say a Jersey City police officer was driving more than twice the speed limit and ran a red light at the time of the March 2 collision that led to his eventual arrest and suspension from the force.
The information about the incident involving Lt. Raymond J. Mahan, 56, is found in a criminal complaint made available by the Hudson County Prosecutor’s Office. Mahan made his first court appearance on charges related to the collision last week.
The document says Mahan’s speed was assessed based on the crash scene investigation, surveillance video and witness interviews. It also says documentation from the police department shows the off-duty officer “was not authorized to be in possession of the vehicle at the time of the crash.” He also had a passenger in the car who refused medical attention, according to the police report.
The collision happened just before 4 a.m. at Kennedy Boulevard and Bartholdi Avenue, an area where the speed limit is 25 miles-per-hour.

Two Men Wounded in Plainfield Shooting

Two men were injured in a shooting in Plainfield on Monday afternoon.
The two victims were hit by gunfire at 1:30 pm near the corner of West Fourth and Liberty
streets. Police say both men were targeted by the shooter.
A car involved in the shooting has been located—however, no arrests have been made.
Neither man was willing to cooperate with the police. Both were hospitalized with injuries that
weren’t considered to be life threatening

Man Stabs Mom’s Boyfriend 17 Times to Protect Her

A former Kinnelon man is on trial in Morristown for stabbing his mother’s boyfriend 17 times to
protect his mother and himself from the boyfriend’s aggression.
Francis S. Thomas, the man on trial, reportedly claimed that he grabbed a knife from the
mother’s boyfriend, Edward Mendy, after interrupting an argument between Mendy and Thomas’
mother, Mignone Njie. He stabbed Mendy 17 times with a six-inch kitchen knife to his neck,
shoulder, face, head, back and arm.
Thomas was charged with attempted murder, aggravated assault with a deadly weapon, and other
assault and weapons charges in connection with the incident

Heroin Possession Defense Attorney NJ

In the state of New Jersey, it’s illegal to possess any amount of heroin. Heroin possession can
result in up to five years in prison. The fine attendant with Third Degree Heroin Possession
charge is up to $35,000. In the event of a conviction, a person can also face a mandatory six
month drivers license suspension.
Simple Possession vs. Constructive Possession
When it comes to having heroin, here are two main categories of possession: simple and
Simple possession is when a person has knowledge that they have heroin in their pocket. It’s
defined by the awareness that a person who’s carrying heroin has that not only do they have a
drug on them, but that it’s an illegal one.
If a person is holding a bag for a friend but didn’t know that that bag had heroin, they may be
able to escape prosecution simply because they lacked knowledge of what was in the bag.
Constructive possession, however, is defined as possession that isn’t necessarily physical, but
one where the drug can still be linked to the person in some way. For example, if heroin is found
in a hotel room where the individual was staying, then that would be considered constructive
possession. If authorities find a stash of heroin in a drug dealer’s neighbor’s apartment, and they
have evidence that the dealer gave him that heroin, then the dealer would be charged with
constructive possession. Once again, the drug may not be physically on them, as with simple
possession, but the person either had the drug in the past or is keeping it in a location that can
still be linked to them in some way.
Defenses to Heroin Possession
If the person who has the heroin didn’t know they had the heroin in their possession (i.e., they
live with a person who does heroin, or they are unknowingly holding it for a friend), then they
can avoid a court date. This is known as a ‘lack of knowledge’ defense.
Sometimes a court will try to establish a constructive possession claim, in which case the
defendant’s attorney can use a ‘lack of power and intent to control’ argument. For instance, if
you pick up a friend and that friend leaves the car to buy heroin from someone, the defendant
who is accused of having heroin in his car can say he lacked power and intent to control the
heroin placed in his vicinity.
Federal Offenses and State Offenses
A person who is convicted of a first offense of heroin possession, with no prior convictions of
possessions of any narcotic, can be sentenced to one year of prison and fined $1,000. A person
who is convicted of heroin possession who had already faced a prior conviction of the drug may
be sentenced to two years in prison and fined $2,500. Two or more prior convictions can get the
fine increased to $5,000, and the prison sentence will vary based on the quantity of the heroin. A
charge of possession with intent to distribute will greatly increase the penalties.
Heroin Possession Attorney Near Me
Our attorneys at the Law Offices of Herbert I. Ellis are trained to defend anyone who has been
convicted with heroin possession. Whether you were an unwilling party to someone who was
possessing heroin, or were charged with simple possession and are now in need of an attorney,
we will try our hardest to reduce your penalties and get you the outcome that you deserve.
Heroin possession is a serious offense in the state of New Jersey, and we are prepared to come to
the court with a serious argument that can help our clients. If you’ve been charged with heroin
possession, call us today at 888-355-4752 and we’ll listen carefully to your story.

Unnamed Cop Justified in Killing of Burglar

A police officer who killed a burglar was justified in using deadly force because the man who was shot struck the officer with a getaway car, Bergen County Prosecutor Gurbir S. Grewal said Tuesday.

The officer, who authorities have refused to identify, fired 13 times at Miguel Reyes, 20. Reyes was one of a group of four men trying to break into a T-Mobile store on Route 4 on Oct. 8, 2014. Reyes was shot three times.

Grewal said the officer “clearly used justifiable force for the protection of himself/herself” as outlined in state law and guidelines from the New Jersey Attorney General.

“The deliberate actions that Mr. Reyes took while behind the wheel of the Kia clearly evince his intent,” Grewal said. “Mr. Reyes ignored Officer 1’s commands to stop. Instead, he backed up the Kia, then accelerated and drove at Officer 1.”

On Jan. 11, Elie Honig, director of the state’s Division of Criminal Justice, concurred with the prosecutor’s decision that deadly force was justified,