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Central Jersey News from the Times of Trenton

older | 1 | .... | 471 | 472 | (Page 473) | 474 | 475 | .... | 528 | newer

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    He faces more than 27 years after pleading guilty to a series of robberies late last year, a decade after his first spree

    Michael A. Hall Jr. was no noob when it came to robbing GameStop stores. He was caught doing it 10 years ago and served time in prison.

    Last year, he decided to try his luck again, but the result was the same.

    He lost.

    Michael A. Hall Jr.jpgMichael A. Hall Jr. 

    The 35-year-old Glassboro man has pleaded guilty to robbing eight GameStop locations in New Jersey and Pennsylvania during a two-month spree last year.

    He faces more than 27 years in prison when he's sentenced Aug. 15.

    Department of Corrections records indicate Hall was released from prison in March 2017. Months later, he picked up where he left off.

    In November, he robbed GameStops in Deptford, Turnersville, Delran, Clementon and Mt. Laurel. He displayed a firearm during the Mt. Laurel robbery, according to a federal complaint. He then crossed the river to rob Pennsylvania GameStops in Philadelphia, Levittown and Folsom in December.

    It was a familiar pattern.

    In 2008, police arrested Hall and a cousin on charges that they robbed eight South Jersey stores, including six GameStops and two convenience stores, at gunpoint, making off with thousands of dollars in games and equipment. 

    When it came to the 2008 GameStop robberies, the heists were well-planned, authorities said.

    "They would pick out certain games they wanted," said Evesham Detective Sgt. David Covely. "They would take the cell phones, the store phones ... It wasn't a spur of the moment thing. It was planned. They knew what they wanted."

    The robberies became more brazen, Covely said at the time, with some committed during daylight hours. A victim was pistol-whipped during one incident, he said.

    With assistance from the U.S. Marshal's, the cousins were arrested in March 2008.

    On Dec. 20 of last year, it was game over once again for Hall.

    He was arrested a day after the Folsom job and authorities seized $5,600 in cash, handguns, ammunition and enough video games and gaming gear to open his own store.

    Titles recovered included Grand Theft Auto 5, Assassins Creed, Minecraft and Rainbow Six Siege.

    While a news account of one of the crimes described two robbers, court documents make no mention of an accomplice.

    Under the plea agreement, Hall has agreed to make restitution to his victims.

    He is currently jailed at Burlington County Detention Center while he awaits sentencing.

    Matt Gray may be reached at mgray@njadvancemedia.com. Follow him on Twitter @MattGraySJT. Find the South Jersey Times on FacebookHave a tip? Tell us: nj.com/tips.


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    As the state tournament approaches, a new team takes over the No. 1 spot.


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    The first 1,025 fans ages 21 and older will get a pork roll apron, and the club will sell $1 pork roll sandwiches, courtesy of Case's Pork Roll. Watch video

    With Greg Bird and Billy McKinney in town until the weekend, the Thunder players have a chance once again to be around major league players.

    Brandon Drury rehabbed with Trenton during the last home stand, so this team full of players in their first season above A ball will get another close up look at two more players who have been where they are, and climbed the ladder all the way to the top.

    So what can Bird and McKinney, who at 23 is younger than most of the Trenton roster, offer to the team while they are here?

    "For me, it is about just having conversation," Bird said. "Obviously, coming through rehabbing is a little different than actually coming through and playing here. There is a different kind of goal, I think.

    "I like talking to the guys. A lot of the guys here I know pretty well. It is still guys that I have come up with, to some extent. So it is just having an open conversation; whatever they want to ask, I am there."

    While Bird was in Trenton for parts of the 2014 and 2015 seasons, before he made it up to the Yankees in the second half of the 2015 campaign (he played 46 games for New York with 157 at-bats in 2015), McKinney had just began his major league career in March. He made his debut on March 30 against Toronto, and got hurt the next day.

    A former first round pick in the 2012 draft by Oakland (who came over to the Yankees from the Cubs in the Aroldis Chapman trade), McKinney played with the Thunder for the second half of 2016 and the first half of 2017. He has taken the field with some of the players on this roster last season, so they have the opportunity to talk to someone that has blazed the path to the Bronx.

    "It is about talking to the guys," McKinney said. "Guys ask questions, and it is always fun to just talk about baseball for me."

    Yankees Acevedo, Bird, Loaisiga, McKinney updates from Jay Bell

    For manager Jay Bell, who has over 20 years of major league experience as a player and coach, the two rehabbing players can be a huge boost to the players in the locker room.

    "There are a couple things," Bell said. "It is having these guys hit BP with them, and see that they are not that far away. They can see that they swing the bat like that, or whenever they go into a game and fail, ok, they are human beings also.

    "Also, normally, most big leaguers on rehab are just extraordinary to the younger players. I know Billy is not that much older than most of those guys in the clubhouse. He knows all of them. They have spent time together, and they have played some games together, at least in spring training.

    "Birdie knows a lot of the guys because he did rehab last year too. They can give just a little bit of themselves, and talk about what it is like in the big leagues. I am sure they have those conversations in the outfield."

    NOTES:

    The rehabbing duo were given the day off Wednesday, on getaway day. The Thunder scored three unearned runs off Akron starter Sean Brady, and one more unearned run in the sixth against Nick Pasquale, to win 5-4.

    Trenton (24-14) took two out of three from the RubberDucks (22-17).

    Weather has been, and will be, a factor for this home stand.

    Tuesday night's game did not start until 9:14 p.m. (two hour 14 minute delay), and it did not finish until 11:50 p.m.

    With rain forecast every day, and Bowie set to come into town for the only time this season starting Thursday, it will be interesting to see if all four games will be played, or the games will have to be made up during one of the two road series in June (1-3, 12-14).

    Friday night will be the first appearance of the Trenton Pork Roll. Case's Pork Roll will be the sponsors of the team for every Friday night game going forward. The team will wear alternate uniforms and hats to celebrate Trenton's hometown food.

    The first 1,025 fans ages 21 and older will get a pork roll apron, and the club will sell $1 pork roll sandwiches, courtesy of Case's Pork Roll.

    Saturday night, Thunder Hall of Famer Tony Clark will be at Arm & Hammer Park, as part of the 25th anniversary season celebrations.

    Contact Sean Miller at seanmillertrentontimes@gmail.com. Follow him on Twitter @TheProdigalSean


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    Highlight the favorites and contenders, plus predictions for all 20 sections.


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    A look back at the top 50 performances from the first round of the girls lacrosse state tournament.


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    "In ancient times, cats were worshipped as gods; they have not forgotten this." -- Terry Pratchett

    Over the years, New Jersey has been home to quite a few famous animals -- Elsie the Cow, MGM's Leo the Lion, Tarzan's original Cheetah the Chimp and Petey the Dog from the Our Gang series.

    un0129historyOn March 4, 1929, Rin Tin Tin and his owner, Leo Duncan, had this photo taken with Elizabeth Mayor John Kenah and local children Charles Coriel and Jane Seymour. 

    But the most famous animals in New Jersey were and are those that become a part of our lives.

    They're pets, ranging from dogs, cats, rabbits and horses to more exotic species like snakes, toucans and insects. And they're animals that were and are part of the Garden State's agricultural history - draft horses, sheep, cattle, chickens and even bees.

    MORE: Vintage photos around New Jersey

    I've heard a lot of quotes, statements and opinions about animals over the years, but the one that sums them up best, at least for me, came from scientist Irene Pepperberg, who has performed extensive studies on animal cognition: "Clearly, animals know more than we think, and think a great deal more than we know."

    Here's a vintage photo gallery of pets and animals from New Jersey, as well as links to other galleries you may enjoy.

    Vintage photos of pets and their people in N.J.

    Vintage photos of horses and horse racing in N.J.

    Vintage photos of why N.J. is the Garden State

    Greg Hatala may be reached at ghatala@starledger.com. Follow him on Twitter @GregHatala. Find Greg Hatala on Facebook.


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    The deputy warden recently retired, but the warden remains

    A longtime corrections officer and a retired Trenton homicide detective have been named to top positions at the Mercer County Correction Center, a county spokeswoman said.

    Asa Paris, who joined the jail as a corrections officer in 1991, started as deputy warden on Monday with a salary of $136,397. He was most recently a lieutenant.

    Paris is also a member of the N.J. Army National Guard and served a tour of duty in Iraq about 10 years ago.

    Phyllis Oliver, also a longtime jail officer who recently served as deputy warden, has retired. 

    In mid April, Gary Britton took over as head of internal affairs at the jail at a salary of $105,348.

    Britton retired in 2015 from the Trenton Police Department, where he was a homicide detective and worked on joint federal task forces.

    The jail, in Hopewell Township, has been on the chopping block for about two years now, and the subject of lawsuits and complaints.

    In early 2016, Mercer County Executive Brian Hughes publicly announced a plan to basically close the jail, layoff the bulk of the staff, and send county inmates to the Hudson County jail in a multi-million, multi-year deal.

    The deal would save Mercer County millions, Hughes argues, and the jail building would remain as an inmate processing center.

    The plan stalled in late 2016 and early 2017, and has not been consummated, but Hughes said last year it is "not dead."

    The corrections officers' union has strenuously fought what's known as the Hudson plan and as recently as January filed a complaint with the county alleging mismanagement and malfeasance by Warden Charles Ellis and Oliver.

    The claim alleged Ellis enabled Oliver to accrue "outrageous" overtime and comp time totals from 2014 through 2016, which allowed her paycheck to balloon to over $200,000 each year.

    While reporting that development, NJ Advance Media learned that Mercer County Prosecutor's Office would be investigating "recent allegations" regarding the leadership at the Mercer County Correction Center, a county spokeswoman confirmed at the time.

    Ellis and Oliver were also accused earlier this year, in a civil lawsuit, of trying to force a sexual threesome with a female colleague at the jail. The two denied that allegation through a county spokesperson.

    Ellis remains the warden, county spokeswoman Julie Willmot said Wednesday.

    Kevin Shea may be reached at kshea@njadvancemedia.com. Follow him on Twitter@kevintshea. Find NJ.com on Facebook.

     

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    Edward Lindsay had a warrant out for his arrest for violating a restraining order in Mercer County, according to cops

    A wanted man's nearly six-hour standoff with police in Plainfield on Wednesday night ended peacefully when he surrendered early Thursday, authorities said.

    The impasse began when Plainfield officers arrived at a home on the 1400 block of Coolidge Street around 6:30 p.m. to arrest Edward Lindsay for violating a restraining order in Mercer County, according to a statement from police.

    SWAT standoff ends peacefully after 2 hours in North Jersey

    When Lindsay saw police show up he went inside the family member's home and refused to leave for hours, officials said. 

    A Union County SWAT team and Plainfield police finally talked him into turning himself in around 12:30 a.m.

    Lindsay never threatened to hurt himself, others or police during the time he was in the house, according to authorities. 

    Coolidge Street is in a neighborhood of single-family homes in the northeast part of the city. Houses on one side of the street back up a wooded area. 

    A spokeswoman for Plainfield police declined to answer additional questions from NJ Advance Media about the incident or detail the charges against Lindsey, saying no further information would be released now. 

    Jeff Goldman may be reached at jeff_goldman@njadvancemedia.com. Follow him on Twitter @JeffSGoldman. Find NJ.com on Facebook.

     

     

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    Which newcomers made the list? And where did everyone else land?


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    From MLB All-Stars to rookie-ball newbies, N.J. alums are all over pro ball


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    In his 15 games this season with the Thunder, he is slashing .375/.435/.500, with 21 hits and 10 runs scored.

    Abiatal Avelino was a main cog in the Thunder machine that ran roughshod over the Eastern League last season.

    The shortstop began this year at Triple A Scranton Wilkes-Barre, where he hit .286, with 22 hits and 10 runs scored in 22 games. But a roster crunch saw the 23-year-old head back down to Trenton on the final day of April.

    The move had little effect on his play; Avelino is currently tearing up Double A pitching. In his 15 games this season with the Thunder, he is slashing .375/.435/.500, with 21 hits and 10 runs scored.

    Overall this season at two levels, Avelino has 43 hits in 133 at-bats, for a .323 average, with 20 runs scored, 20 RBIs.

    "I trust the Yankees, with what they do," Avelino said. "I have the opportunity to play here, and that is important."

    Avelino, who has played all over the infield for the organization, has settled in at shortstop during this season's stint with the Thunder. He believes that is his best position, although his flexibility is a plus that has seen other players make a jump to the majors.

    "For me, shortstop," Avelino said. "I feel a lot of adrenaline over there. I can read every ground ball, and I can use my arm. Second base is good, and I like third, but for me, shortstop is my favorite position.

    "It s very important (to be able to play all of them). I am trying to play the outfield too."

    How can Yankees Greg Bird and Billy McKinney help Thunder players during rehab?

    Thunder manager Jay Bell, who was a 1993 Gold Glove winner (breaking Ozzie Smith's 13-year string of awards) at shortstop for the Pittsburgh Pirates, has been impressed with Avelino's arm strength at the position. But Bell also like how the player has been able to help the clubhouse. 

    "I think he has got as good of an arm as anybody in the organization," Bell said. "When you see the quality of that arm, it is pretty impressive. I think he still has a ways to go in terms of how to position himself, and how to attack the baseball when it is on the ground, but he is fun to watch.

    "I think he is doing a really nice job of balancing a free spirit, and being able to flip that switch and really focus on the importance of the game. One thing I think that he is learning is how to fit in, and because of that, it is benefitting his play."

    Avelino is also able to steal a base when it is warranted. He has 159 stolen bases in his minor league career, which dates back to 2012. His high was 54 in 2015, split between Charleston and Tampa. Avelino has nine already this year with Trenton (14 overall), after he totaled just 11 last season, and has been thrown out only twice.

    It is something that he wants to improve on this campaign, which is already showing on the base paths.

    "I have the opportunity here, and I have the green light," Avelino said. "Last year, I didn't have a green light. But now this year, my manager here gives me the green light, and I am very happy."

    I don't care if a guy steals 60 bases, I want to know how many of those bases are important bases," Bell said. "If you're just running whenever you're down by seven or eight, or up by seven or eight, those are not meaningful bases. What I have enjoyed with him is picking and choosing those moments to help the team win."

    Contact Sean Miller at seanmillertrentontimes@gmail.com. Follow him on Twitter @TheProdigalSean


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    A jury returned a not guilty verdict after a weekslong trial for Frank Walker III, of Wrightstown

    A man who was accused of stabbing a woman to death outside an abandoned strip mall has been found not guilty.

    Frank Walker III, of Wrightstown, faced a first-degree murder charge in connection with the death of Diana Stillwell, 29 in Pemberton Township. She was found stabbed behind a strip mall near the intersection of Juliustown and Pemberton-Browns Mills roads. 

    After a trial that lasted weeks, the jury returned the not guilty verdict on Wednesday, Deputy Public Defender Cedric Edwards said.

    Burlington County Prosecutor Scott Coffina released a statement on the outcome soon afterward. 

    "We are disappointed in the jury's verdict, and believe wholeheartedly that we presented evidence beyond a reasonable doubt proving the defendant was guilty of murdering Diana Stillwell," he said. "Obviously, the jury did not see it that way and we must respect their determination. I would like to thank the members of our Office who participated in this investigation and trial for their dedication to finding justice for Diana and her family. Our thoughts and prayers are with Diana and her family today as they process the jury's decision and try to move forward with their lives."

    Public defender Anthony Aldorasi represented Walker.

    Joe Brandt can be reached at jbrandt@njadvancemedia.com. Follow him on Twitter @JBrandt_NJ. Find NJ.com on Facebook.

    Have a tip? Tell us. nj.com/tips 

     

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    Trenton is establishing an internet safe exchange zone, a place where residents can complete transactions that originate on digital marketplaces without fear of harm.

    When you purchase an item on Craigslist, Facebook or other site, you're inadvertently buying something you didn't bargain for: the risk of becoming the victim of a crime.

    In 2015, a Somerville man was sentenced to 13 years in state prison for the knife-point robbery of a buyer responding to the lure of cheap Apple products on Craigslist. Earlier this year, an Ocean County man was allegedly robbed - also at knifepoint - when he climbed into the car of a man claiming to be selling an iPhone.

    And last month, an exchange went fatally wrong when 20-year-old Danny Diaz-Delgado was ambushed in a Trenton alley, where he had gone to buy a video game player that he'd seen advertised on Facebook Marketplace.

    Now Trenton City Council members have joined a growing number of public-safety officials from municipalities around the state and the country in fighting back.

    They are establishing an internet safe exchange zone, a place where residents can complete transactions that originate on digital marketplaces without fear of harm. An area behind City Hall on East State Street will be set aside for these transactions, with enhanced lighting and security cameras.

    Found an internet deal? Here's the only place you should meet

    Councilman Duncan Harrison helped launch the project, which had the support of Trenton Police Director Ernest Parrey, Jr. and Mayor Eric Jackson.

    The overwhelming majority of online commercial interactions are legitimate. But the Huffington Post reported an alarming statistic in 2016: Some 45 Craigslist-related killings took place between 2009 and 2014.

    It's not really that surprising, with the online giant reporting 50 billion page-views per month - 60 million in the United States alone.

    Police departments in New Jersey have gotten wise to the evils that accompany the trend, with communities such as Robbinsville, Penns Grove and Brick specifying safe-exchange locations in or near police stations or town halls.

    In Bordentown Township, for example, buyers and sellers are encouraged to handle their transactions in the lobby of the municipal building, which is well-lighted and monitored by surveillance cameras around the clock.

    Oddly, the state's largest cities have been slow to come on board. So, it comes as welcome news that Trenton has taken this important step to help keep residents safe.

    Police say there also are common-sense measures consumers can take to keep themselves from becoming victims when they're dealing with strangers in the e-marketplace.

    Always insist on meeting in a public area during daylight hours. Don't go into a transaction by yourself. Be sure a friend or family member knows where you're going. And never enter a stranger's house - or let a stranger enter yours.

    As long as there is internet commerce, there will be internet criminals. With a little common sense and some help from your local cops, you should be okay.

    Bookmark NJ.com/Opinion. Follow on Twitter @NJ_Opinion and find NJ.com Opinion on Facebook.

     

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    Ajun Agarwal's video is titled, "Eating Up By Thinking Up." Watch video

    A freshman from Lawrence High School was a first place winner from among 5,000 students participating in the international video contest, Population Connection's "World of 7 Billion".  

    Arjun Agarwal was among just 18 first or second place winners. He competed in the Feeding 10 Billion People category that addressed sustainable ideas for feeding a growing population, while educating viewers about the topic.

    Arjun-Agarwal.jpgArjun Agarwal 

    He also won a $1,000 prize.

    "I didn't expect to win because I knew it was a big contest that thousands of other students entered," said Arjun "I just wanted to create a fun video." 

    Arjun's one-minute winning video is called "Eating Up By Thinking Up," where he tries to persuade populations to think about transitioning from eating meat to a more sustainable plant-based diet.

    "It's a very pressing concern that the meat industry has. There simply won't be enough land, water, and energy for animals," Arjun said. "We need a slow transition from meat to plants, because plants use less land, water and energy. The statistics are in my video," he added.

    Arjun's video suggests that designing vertical farms for growing the plants would help to provide more food for a growing population in a sustainable manner. Later he talked about examples of plants such as "fruits, vegetables, lentils, and beans." 

    He also said that he is not sure that vertical farms are the same as greenhouses and if they would have an undesirable effect on the ozone.

    "These aren't just great young filmmakers," said John Seager, president of Population Connection. "All of the winners are inspirational voices for a sustainable and compassionate future."

    Arjun found out about the contest through involvement in his school's STEM club. He felt inspired to tackle the challenge because he saw hunger firsthand while traveling in India with his parents who are in the food industry and teach nutrition.

    He also said being a vegetarian himself was also an inspiration.

    Other winning students hail from the U.S., Canada, Belgium and Slovenia.

    The contest was organized and promoted during the 2017-18 school year by Population Education, a program of Population Connection.

    "We select themes each year that not only address timely global issues, but also dovetail nicely with the content in many middle and high school social studies and science classes," said Pam Wasserman, senior vice president for education at Population Connection.

    Other winning videos and student bios are available here: worldof7billion.org/student-video-contest

    Follow NJ.com on Twitter @njdotcom. Find NJ.com on Facebook.


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    He sold about half a pound of the drug during a State Police investigation and was convicted this week at trial

    A jury convicted a Trenton man on five cocaine distribution charges Thursday, after the State Police found he had distributed half a pound of the drug.

    Marcus Covington, 37, was found guilty of first-degree distribution of cocaine, and other lesser charges related to dealing, including distributing within 500 feet of public housing and within 1,000 feet of a school, the state Attorney General's office announced Friday. 

    Between February and June 2016, authorities documented 10 cocaine sales totaling a half-pound. 

    "As a felon with multiple prior drug convictions, Covington is subject to extended sentences on these charges," Director of Criminal Justice Veronica Allende said in the announcement. "We want these recidivist offenders to know that each time they go back to their old tricks, we'll be there to lock them up for longer terms.

    Covington faces 10 to 20 years on the first-degree charge, five to 10 years on his second-degree charges and three to five years on his third-degree charges. His sentencing is scheduled for June 29.

    Wayne Meyers, 35, who helped with three of the sales, pleaded guilty to second-degree distribution of cocaine. Prosecutors will recommend a sentence of seven years and two months at his June 15 sentencing.

    Joe Brandt can be reached at jbrandt@njadvancemedia.com. Follow him on Twitter @JBrandt_NJ. Find NJ.com on Facebook.

    Have a tip? Tell us. nj.com/tips 


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    Who moves on to the next round of the 2018 state tournament.


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    Caristina Nunez has two theft convictions from Bucks County, Pa.

    A Trenton City Hall employee was arrested earlier this month in Ewing for having a warrant for her arrest for a probation violation from a prior theft conviction in Bucks County, Pennsylvania, documents show.

    Caristina Nunez, 37, who started working in Mayor Eric Jackson's office in the summer of 2017, and later transferred to another office in City Hall, was arrested May 5.

    Jackson's office has not responded to several requests for comment. Nunez's status with the city was unknown Friday.

    Ewing police confirmed she was pulled over for a traffic violation at Olden and Parkside avenues, and a standard check revealed a warrant for her arrest from Bucks County.

    Nunez was taken to the Mercer County jail to await extradition to Bucks, police said.

    Bucks County court records show a warrant for her arrest was issued May 2, and she was back in court on Monday, May 12, for a bench warrant hearing.

    Court authorities were not immediately available to elaborate on the violation.

    Records show Nunez was arrested on retail theft and theft by deception by Bensalem police in June 2016. She took a guilty plea on the charges in January 2017 and was sentenced to 12 months of probation.

    The records show that in January of this year, she had technical violations of her parole and a hearing, and in 2016, her case shows delinquencies in monies owed and a referral to a collection agency.

    Nunez's total penalties and fines in the case amounted to $1,619 and restitution of $283.

    In 2017, records show, Nunez collected $14,395 for about half a year's work.

    The city requires a background check to be hired.

    Kevin Shea may be reached at kshea@njadvancemedia.com. Follow him on Twitter@kevintshea. Find NJ.com on Facebook.

     

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    Legacy Watkins would have been a member of the Class of 2018

    Legacy Watkins' family has no doubt she would have graduated this weekend from Dickinson College in Pennsylvania.

    She was pulling a 3.4 grade point average in her junior year, but more than that, she loved everything about college: the academics, the social life and connecting to the local community near Dickinson's campus in Carlisle, Pennsylvania.

    While studying abroad in the African nation of Cameroon last February, the 20-year-old from Trenton died suddenly.

    On campus, and in Trenton days later, mourners described her as a "shining light" who "burned bright."

    Her death, believed to be natural or medical, but still not fully explained to her family, has left a gaping hole they'll likely never fill. 

    "This is just heart wrenching," her mother Koffie Watkins-Merrick said this week. She's still deeply in mourning and any conversation about her daughter soon turns to tears and anguish.

    She'd like to see her daughter honored with her degree from Dickinson, a private liberal arts school where Watkins was majoring in Africana studies. 

    Watkins-Merrick and family and friends say it does not have to be a real degree conferral, an honorary one would be just fine. It would help.

    But it's not on the list of how the college will honor her.

    Dickinson spokeswoman Christine Baksi said the college community will again remember Watkins with a remembrance at the baccalaureate ceremony, and her family members will be presented a special certificate citing her many contributions to Dickinson and the community.

    Following that ceremony, a tree planted earlier this year will be dedicated with a plaque commissioned by the college's student senate, and at the commencement - this coming Sunday - Dickison's president will speak about her.

    Flowers on the stage will honor her. This, Baski said, "has been our tradition in the past on those sad occasions when students have died before they were able to graduate."

    "But unfortunately, the college cannot grant an honorary degree," she said.

    The college did not fully explain why, and Watkins-Merrick and family friend Derrick Dix - who helped raise Watkins - sees no real reason, and haven't received one in several conversations with Dickinson officials.

    "I know how hard my daughter worked, and it's like they don't want me to have anything," Watkins-Merrick said.

    She said several times, she sees no cost or other issue. Her daughter wanted that degree so bad.

    Watkins-Merrick will not be at the graduation. It's too painful, she said.

    She will, however, never stop in working to keep Watkins memory alive, she said. She's created a hashtag for it, she said. 

    #LegacysLEGACY.


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    Nottingham High School students celebrated their prom on Friday at The Westin Princeton at Forrestal Village dancing the night away.

    By Michael Mancuso

    NJ Advance Media for NJ.com

    It was a night to remember for Nottingham High School students as they celebrated their prom at The Westin Princeton at Forrestal Village on Friday night.

    Prom-goers arrived dressed to the nines as they socialized, posed for photos and danced the night away.

    Check back at nj.com/mercer for other local high school prom coverage. And be sure to check out our complete prom coverage at nj.com/prom.

    BUY THESE PHOTOS
    Are you one of the people pictured at this prom? Want to buy the photo and keep it forever? Look for the blue link "buy photo" below the photographer's credit to purchase the picture. You'll have the ability to order prints in a variety of sizes, or products like magnets, keychains, coffee mugs and more.

    Michael Mancuso may be reached at mmancuso@njadvancemedia.com. Follow him on Twitter @michaelmancuso, Instagram @michaelmancuso and Facebook @michaelmancuso

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    The former chief's attorney identified the cop who made the recordings in court documents Thursday

    The cop who stealthily recorded 100 hours of his former chief talking -- and using racial slurs -- had remained anonymous, until yesterday.

    A filing in the federal racial assault case against former Bordentown Township Police Chief Frank Nucera Jr. names the person who handed over the recordings to the FBI as Nathan Roohr, a patrol sergeant.

    His name appears in an FBI report attached as an exhibit. Two agents report that they met with Roohr and received the recordings.

    Federal prosecutors said Nucera can be heard in the recordings using the N-word to describe African Americans, and at one point saying they were "like ISIS, they have no value. They should line them all up and mow 'em down." 

    Ex-chief charged in black teen's beating 'dishonored the badge'

    The then-chief's comments are described in a complaint charging Nucera with a federal hate crime and related charges for the alleged beating of a handcuffed Trenton teenager in 2016.

    Nucera's attorney, Rocco C. Cipparone Jr., filed the motion Thursday that named Roohr. It was a request to allow more time for pretrial motions and to fully review the hours of recordings, some of which are difficult to hear. 

    He also references a part of the FBI document which says Roohr deleted some of his recordings that he determined contained "nothing of importance." Cipparone argues that the deletion of some recordings could impact Nucera's right to a fair trial. 

    Roohr was promoted to Sergeant in August 2015. He did not return an email requesting comment Friday.

    Nucera is free on bail after he was indicted in late 2017 on the charges of hate crime assault, deprivation of civil rights under the color of law and making false statements.

    With Thursday's filing, one of many continuances requested in the case, the parties now have until July 16 to submit pretrial motions.

    Joe Brandt can be reached at jbrandt@njadvancemedia.com. Follow him on Twitter @JBrandt_NJ. Find NJ.com on Facebook.

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