Last defendant gets 195 years for triple slaying
NEWARK — The last of six defendants convicted in a notorious schoolyard triple murder was sentenced Wednesday to 195 years in prison, closing one chapter on a crime whose savagery made national headlines and spurred numerous anti-crime measures in New Jersey's largest city.
What happened behind the Mount Vernon School on the night of Aug. 4, 2007, was “evil incarnate,” state Superior Court Judge Michael L. Ravin told the gallery as he sentenced Gerardo Gomez to three consecutive terms of 60 years each on three murder counts and 15 more years on an attempted murder count.
Gomez, who turned 15 on the night of the murders, was one of six men and boys with ties to the MS-13 street gang who pleaded guilty to or were convicted of the crimes. Four are serving multiple consecutive life sentences, and a fifth received 30 years in exchange for his testimony.
In all, the six defendants are serving sentences totaling 1,082 years.
Flag raiser charged with disorderly conduct
SEASIDE HEIGHTS — A man who climbed a New Jersey roller coaster swept into the Atlantic Ocean during Superstorm Sandy and unfurled an American flag on it faces a disorderly conduct charge.
Christopher Angelo used a canoe to reach the site Tuesday morning. He put the flag in place and then left the coaster and hopped into a police boat. He was handcuffed, walked through the surf and escorted to a police car on the beach in Seaside Heights.
The Lavallette resident says he acted to raise awareness for shore recovery. The remnants of the Jet Star Roller Coaster have become one of the iconic images of the deadly late October storm.
Seaside Heights police Chief Thomas Boyd told the Asbury Park Press no further charges are likely against Angelo.
No indictment issued in parade fatalities
MIDLAND — A grand jury has declined to indict the driver of a parade float involved in a train collision that killed four veterans.
The panel decided Wednesday that Dale Andrew Hayden won't face charges in the Nov. 15 accident in West Texas that killed four veterans who had served in Iraq and Afghanistan.
The flatbed truck Hayden was driving was hit by a Union Pacific train traveling at 62 mph. The truck was the second float in a parade organized to honor wounded veterans and their wives.
The National Transportation Safety Board is investigating the accident.
Union Pacific Corp. said in December that it was adjusting the timing of the crossing signal where the collision occurred.
Clerk with gun thwarts robbery attempt
TALLAHASSEE — Authorities say a Florida Panhandle man has been arrested because he tried to rob a convenience store with a cattle prod but was thwarted by a clerk with a gun.
The Leon County Sheriff's Office says 26-year-old Lance Tomberlin went into a store just outside Tallahassee on Jan. 2, produced the cattle prod and demanded money from the clerk. Officials say he shocked the clerk several times before the clerk pulled a handgun.
Authorities say Tomberlin fled and another employee tried to restrain him, but he eventually escaped in his truck. Deputies stopped Tomberlin's truck but he fled on foot.
The sheriff's office says Tomberlin was arrested Tuesday and charged with armed robbery and aggravated battery.
Man who crushed cop cars ruled incompetent
NEWPORT — A Vermont man charged with driving a tractor over seven police vehicles and crushing them has been found incompetent to stand trial.
Roger Pion, of Newport, had been involuntarily committed to the custody of the state commissioner of mental health.
The 34-year-old Pion had faced multiple criminal counts because police say he drove his dad's tractor over six cruisers and a van at the county sheriff's department in Derby in August, causing about $300,000 in damage.
Police say he was angry over a previous arrest for marijuana possession. Pion pleaded not guilty.
The Caledonian-Record reports that a judge agreed to a hearing to determine how and where Pion will receive treatment. Prosecutors asked for another evaluation in 90 days.
— From wire reports
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