On Thursday, November 11, Spencer Cadogan was shot and killed on West Front Street in Plainfield in the middle of the afternoon; he was seventeen years old. Allegedly he was shot for disrespecting MS-13 members.

Less than twenty-four hours later, another Plainfield man was killed by automatic fire in a backyard on West 3rd Street, the 7th murder in the city of the year.

Early Saturday morning, Daval Cox, 19, was shot and killed at an intersection in Paterson.

Yessenia Feliciano, 34, was shot in the chest and killed inside her Elizabeth home around 6am early Sunday morning. A 17-year-old youth was arrested and charged in the murder.


NJ 2010 Murder Map, Part 2

This has been the most violent month for the year in Newark. In twenty-seven days, thirteen people have been murdered, almost entirely by gunfire, and almost entirely for a gang-related motive. In the South Ward, the Grape Street Crips and 793 Bloods have apparently engaged in a bloody war after years of keeping relative peace. It’s alleged that Nii Sowah, 24, shot in the chest on Mapes Avenue on the 26th was a Blood killed by a Crip. With police and city government having touted in the past the historically low number of homicides, this bloody month has been a setback for peace in Newark.

The other murders in Newark this month were Kevin Frazier, 35, shot in the chest and killed on South 12th Street on August 26.

Andre Bryant, 22, run down by a car in a vehicular homicide in the South Ward on August 22.

Muhajadeen Andrews, 24, shot in the back on Park Avenue August 20 while leaving his girlfriend’s house.

RaJohn Powell, 18, killed in a drive-by shooting in the Central Ward August 18.

David Bravo, 24, and Jack Sylvain, 32, were shot outside a gas station in the West Ward on August 15; Sylvain died of his injuries a short time after, while Bravo survived for twelve more hours before a gunman finished him off outside his Irvington home.

Trevor Banton of East Orange, 32, shot multiple times walking out of the Atmosphere Bar and Lounge in the South Ward August 11.

Anthony Ravenel, 28, shot and killed near his house in the Central Ward August 11.

Mirad Robbins, 27, shot multiple times in the head in a drive-by in Roseville, August 10.

Mark Stevens of Orange, 32, was shot and killed outside a walk-up in the South Ward August 3.

Also, Dwayne Gun, 50, was strangled to death by his roommate in the North Ward August 10 - a domestic crime rather than an organized-crime related murder. Similarly, Yvette Pieters, 59, was stabbed to death by her husband in the South Ward August 4 - also a domestic dispute.

Murders in Bergen County, 2003 - today


A man kills his father while high on crack. A man shoots his wife in the back of the head after she says she wants to get a divorce. A mother drunkenly kicks and punches her 14-year-old son to death. An argument over a card game leaves a man riddled with bullets in a housing project. Some are spread up into the suburbs far north. The grittier and poorer cities have higher concentrations - Hackensack, Lodi, Garfield, Cliffside Park, Englewood - but bar fights, gang shootings, domestic disputes, drunken crashes, and robberies have left eighty-two people dead over the course over the past seven and a quarter years (three of these being police shootings).

Ralph Pinto was an eighteen-year-old boy with a plan to rob a drug dealer in South Hackensack in 2005. Little did he know that the dealer was a ranking member of the Latin Kings. They lured him to a parking lot in Lodi where they tried to kidnap him, and ended him leading his bullet-riddled body on the side of the road, and stabbing a female co-conspirator thirty times to silence her. The killers have been convicted.

In 2006, Paul Duncsak was followed into his Ramsey house and shot in the back of the head with a silenced low-caliber pistol by Edward Ates. Ates was convicted after an internet history search showed he had looked up websites on how to commit a perfect murder.

Ricky Smith Jr., 15, was sitting on a curb outside a house party in Teaneck in July 2006 when a fight that began between two rival gangs inside spilled out. A Blood from Paterson opened up the trunk of his car, pulled out a .357 Magnum, and fired into the crowd, hitting Ricky in the back and killing him. 

William Marcucci, an associate with the Genovese crime family, was waiting in a car outside a diner in Saddle Brook in 2008 meeting up with an unknown person. While waiting, two hitmen approached him and pumped several shots into the side of his head through the window. He had possibly been suspected of stealing from illegal bookmaking proceeds.

Victor Garcia, 21, was hanging out in Hackensack in the summer of 2009 with a friend who had recently left DDP, a Dominican gang. Some gang members approached; Garcia’s friend got away, but they mistook Garcia for him and gutted him with knives and slashed his throat. Garcia lingered for several days in the hospital before dying; the gang members were arrested.

Jonathan Beneduce and Michael Mirasola, two Queens men and possible associates of organized crime, were meeting up with an acquaintance in Teaneck to conduct a drug deal several weeks ago. While sitting in the parked car, Nicholas Kiriakakis of Queens, allegedly connected to the Greek mob, opened fire on them, killing them with multiple gunshot wounds.

This is only a sample of the destruction that wanton violence has left throughout Bergen County. 

murder in new jersey 2.5.10

map of murders in nj

1.21.10 21:30

Carikin Hudson, 39, was stabbed multiple times in a vacant lot in Penns Grove. It is Salem County’s second murder in 12 hours, after an entire fourteen months without a single homicide. Wayne Davenport, 26, was arrested and charged with the murder shortly after.

1.25.10 unknown time

An unidentified man was found stabbed in the chest in his Jersey City home by his brother. No suspects have been arrested so far in the investigation, and its unclear if this was a homicide, suicide, or accident, as little press has been released on the killing so far.

1.25.10 unknown time

Sun Chu Cho, 78, was strangled with a necktie by her husband in a domestic murder-suicide in Palisades Park. Dae Sung Kim, 79, who had recently learned he had prostate cancer, hung himself after murdering his wife, who also was physically disabled. Their adult son discovered their bodies on a routine visit to their house.

1.25.10 12:30

Taiquawn Boney was shot twice outside the Parker Road Apartments in Elizabeth; his age was not given. No suspects have been arrested so far in the investigation.

1.26.10 08:50

Maurice Crowley, 35, was shot and killed in the Tamarack Apartments in Camden, with his 1-year-old son nearby. He was a felon who had recently gotten out of jail on drug charges.

1.27.10 13:30

Shakur Prince, 16, was shot and killed on a sidewalk in Asbury Park on the border of Neptune. No suspects have been arrested so far in the investigation, but some of Prince’s friends were arrested for attempted murder for trying to plot revenge on the killer. The killer’s identity is still unknown, as they refuse to cooperate with the police.

1.29.10 01:05

Milton Love, 33, was struck and killed at a party in Toms River in a fight over a stolen bottle of alcohol. Warrants have been put out for suspects, but they have not yet been arrested.

1.29.10 23:30

Ricky Teel, 30, was stabbed to death outside of Penn Station in Newark after getting into an argument with a homeless man. Dennis Baxter, 30, fled inside the station and hid in a bathroom before being arrested by NJ Transit Police.

2.2.10 04:00

Lester “Bleek” Thompson, 26, and Mileak Richardson, 17, were killed with multiple gunshots to the head outside an apartment building in Jersey City. No suspects have been arrested so far in the investigation. It’s suspected that the NHC (Neighborhood Crip) gang had ordered the killings, or the Hoover 52 Crips.

2.3.10 19:30

Anthony Coley of Passaic, 18, was shot multiple times on the street in Paterson. He got into a car and drove a short distance before crashing. He was injured in a shooting the month before in Paterson when the minivan he was in was sprayed with gunfire. No suspects have been arrested so far in the investigation.

Solved crimes

Samad Land, 19, and Martell Land, 18, both cousins, were arrested and charged in the targetted murder of Jamal Burgess at Ferry and Kossuth Streets in Camden. They approached him while he was sitting in a car and opened fire, hitting two of his cousins. One of his cousins, Kareen Watkins, returned fire, critically wounding Samad.

murder in new jersey 1.21.10

map of murders in new jersey

1.12.10 morning

Vernita Desmith, 19, was stabbed to death in her parents’ house in Newark by her estranged ex-boyfriend. She had a 1-year-old son with her at the time. Quavon Bell, 19, fled from police across rooftops and after a lengthy chase he was captured and charged with Desmith’s murder. This was Newark’s fifth murder, one of many in the Central Ward.

1.14.10 20:00

Lemuel Robinson, 22, was killed by a single gunshot wound in a robbery in eastside Camden. While walking to a neighborhood store to buy food, two men approached and attempted to rob him, killing him in the process and leaving him on the sidewalk. No suspects have been arrested so far in the investigation.

1.18.10 22:30

Anthony “Leon Sweet” Hunt, 47, was shot multiple times in the torso after an argument in his Irvington house. He had recently been released from jail on narcotics and robbery convictions, and was unemployed. Shortly after, Derrick Miller, 22, and Arthur Thompson, 27, both of Newark, were pulled over in Irvington and arrested for the crime.

1.18.10 11:00

Zorymar Rosado, 17, was shot multiple times and killed inside her Elizabeth apartment, a block away from Elizabeth High School. Later that day, Fahteem Tucker, 18, was arrested and charged with the girl’s murder.

1.18.10 Unknown time

In the Central Ward’s fourth murder of the year, Carol Spratt, 76, was found murdered and wrapped up in garbage bags in a shopping cart outside a New Community senior citizens home in Newark. Her apparent boyfriend, Forrest Thomas, 42, was arrested several days later and charged in the murder, which took place across the street from one of the largest hospitals in Newark.

1.20.10 20:00

In Camden’s third murder of the year, Jamal Burgess, 33, was fatally injured in a multiple shooting in Camden when an armed man opened fire on him while he was sitting in a car. Two of his cousins were also wounded in the gunfire that rocked Ferry and Kossuth Streets in one of the poorest areas of the city.

1.20.10 unknown time

Angel Montes, 31 was shot dead inside his house in the small South Jersey city of Salem. It’s Salem’s first murder in fourteen months, and one of the only in that area for a long time.

1.21.10 04:10

An unidentified man was killed by a single gunshot to the shoulder by an officer of the Irvington Police Department. Police had responded to a burglary at a machine shop on South 20th Street when the burglar fled, running across rooftops, and crossing over into the city of Newark. In a backyard on Beverly Street, an officer confronted the man, who bit him and lunged for his 40-caliber service weapon. The officer discharged a single shot, killing the man. He has not yet been identified.

Solved crimes

Sylvester Cummings, 23, and Victor Powell, 22, were both arrested recently for the drug-related killing of Paul Politan just off of South Orange Avenue in Newark on January 3.

Dante Bland, 22, was arrested and charged with the murder of gang member Ronald Jordan in Jersey City. He is one of two shooters in the situation, and it’s unknown where the other shooter is, or what Bland’s gang connections are.

Phillip Holden, 39, aka Abdul Muslim, was arrested and charged with the murder of Karen Cunningham in Newark, killed by a stray bullet during a drug-related shooting near West Side Park.

The Newark-East Orange-Irvington metropolitan area already has had seven murders in twenty-one days of the new year, an average of a murder every three days, not counting the police shooting that left another man dead in the South Ward. Four are concentrated in the Central Ward, strange considering that the West and South Wards were the primary killing zones in 2009. Union and Salem Counties have already suffered their first murders, though many counties have been spared a homicide this far into the year.

There hasn’t been a single murder in Newark or Irvington south of Springfield Avenue yet.

murder in new jersey 1.14.10 

1.8.10 03:15

Early in the morning, Ronald Jordan, 21, was watching TV at a friend’s house in Greenville, Jersey City when armed gunmen burst through the door. Jordan, a resident of the Marion Gardens projects, was shot multiple times while sitting on the couch. It would be the first of three killings that day in Hudson County.

1.8.10 23:30

At a house party in Union City Friday night, Jorge Ramon and his girlfriend, Amanda Mele, 21, got into an argument over Ramon allegedly flirting with other girls. Mele grabbed a kitchen knife and plunged it into Ramon’s heart, killing him. She was arrested at the scene and is facing murder charges; they had had a months-old baby girl between them.

1.8.10 23:30

Ezekiel Sims, 31, was sitting on the steps of the Marion Gardens housing project in Jersey City when he was shot once in the back of the head with a semiautomatic pistol. He was good friends with Ronald Jordan, killed earlier that day; police allege that their murders are related.

1.9.10 21:10

While ordering at the counter of Lucky Joy, a Chinese restaurant in the gang-infested Vailsburg section of Newark, Don Curtis of East Orange, 20, was accosted by a gunman and shot once in the face. He died at the scene of his injuries. No suspects have been arrested so far in the investigation.

1.11.10 Unknown time

After responding to a shooting on 16th Avenue, Newark police assumed there had been no victim. However, the next day at 9am Karen Cunninham, 55, was found with a single gunshot wound to the chest in her car, injured presumably by a stray bullet. Investigators say she was struck in the crossfire while standing outside her car, and had sought shelter inside the vehicle, dying of her wounds shortly after.

1.12.10 23:35

Isaaic Brinson, 33, was shot and killed inside an apartment complex in the Roseville section of Newark. A man with him was also injured. This is Newark’s fourth homicide of the year, an average of two murders a week so far.

Solved crimes

Wayne Wakefield of East Orange, 21, was arrested and charged with the murder of Paris Powell in Neptune on January 6. He had been trying to rob and intimidate Powell and his brother, and is currently in Monmouth County Jail facing murder charges.

Thomas Battinelli of Ridgefield, 52, was arrested and charged with the shooting death of Michael Murphy in Garfield several days earlier.

Jordan and Sims were allegedly murdered in revenge for unspecified homicides that had occurred the previous year. Both were alleged members of Sex Money Murder, a powerful Blood set in Jersey City. With their deaths, and the death of fellow SMM Adrian Gerena two weeks earlier who had been murdered by a Latin King, it remains to be seen if there will be any retribution by SMM on any rival organized crime groups. With three members slain in two weeks, including Sims who was allegedly an OG, or leader of a set, the organization has suffered heavy losses.

murder in new jersey 1.7.10

map of murders in new jersey

1.1.10 14:30

In the gritty and ugly Parkside neighborhood of Camden a few blocks away from Camden High School, the first murder of 2010 in New Jersey took place. Nakeith Selby, 31, was killed with a gunshot to the head while standing near the corner of Haddon and Wildwood. He was a city resident recently released from prison on drug charges.

1.3.10 18:05

Paul Politan of 39, was murdered in Newark while purportedly purchasing drugs to sell back in his hometown of Easton, Pennsylvania. A gunman shot him multiple times on South 10th Street just off of South Orange Avenue, striking him in the stomach and leg.

1.6.10 04:05

Paris Powell of Waretown, 22, was shot multiple times and killed while standing outside a house on Oxonia Avenue in Neptune just after four in the morning. It’s suggested the killing was gang-related, as Neptune and Asbury Park are both hotbeds for gang activity.

1.6.10 09:30

A few hours after Powell was murdered in Neptune, Michael Muprhy of Montvale, 56, was killed by an intruder at his flower shop in Garfield. A delivery man found him at his desk with a stab wound to the back of his head - right across the streeet from the Garfield police station. This is a little more personal to me - I used to live in Garfield, just a few blocks from where this murder took place. Garfield has become a more dangerous town in recent years, and this is emblematic of the danger that southside Bergen County faces now, especially with the spillover from the more urban areas of Hudson, Passaic, and Essex Counties.

So far, 2010 has been fairly average for the state - two murders in inner cities, two in suburbs, majority of the victims black, majority killed by shooting, and majority gang or drug related. It remains to be seen how 2010 will fare - while 2009 brought an overall drop in murder throughout New Jersey, there still remained violent pockets where life was taken with no regard. Though Camden had drops in crime, Paterson and Jersey City remain violent, and Newark had a large spike in murders. To save the lives of New Jersey residents, especially those in the cities where drug-related murder is common, better anti-gang and anti-violence initiatives must be taken place to break organized crime’s hold on the cities, and their reign of death and terror.