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Central Jersey News from the Times of Trenton

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    A 40-year-old Trenton man is charged with vehicular homicide, drunk driving and other offenses

    A 31-year-old Burlington man was killed by a wrong-way drunk driver on Route 29 in Trenton late Saturday night, authorities said.

    Kenneth McRae died after his car was struck head-on by a vehicle traveling south in the northbound lanes near the Calhoun Street Bridge, Trenton police said. His two passengers suffered injuries not considered life-threatening, according to Trenton police spokesman Detective Lt. Darren Zappley.

    Man dies in wrong-way crash with truck on Turnpike

    Henry Arevalo-Martinez, 40, of Trenton, is charged with vehicular homicide and assault by auto. He was also issued summonses for drunk driving, reckless driving and driving without a license, according to online records. 

    Police aren't sure exactly where or how Arevalo-Martinez, who broke his hip in the crash, entered the highway in the wrong direction.

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

     

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    The man was later charged with possessing a defaced firearm

    A Trenton police officer driving to a sanctioned side job in the middle of the night found himself in brief showdown with an armed man, the department said.

    Officer Freddy Jiminez was off duty and in his own car, but wearing his patrol uniform when he was flagged down by two people at 3:15 a.m. Saturday on Liberty Street.

    The two people were with two others, and Jiminez suspected they were selling drugs, so he pulled over to investigate, police spokesman Lt. Darren Zappley said. 

    When he got out, he pointed his police flashlight at the four, and one of them - a male later identified as Raheen Clark - pulled a handgun from his waistband and pointed it at Jiminez, Zappley said.

    Jiminez responded by pulling his own gun, and in just seconds was able to deescalate the situation firearm without firing.

    He then held the four suspects at gunpoint until backup officers arrived.

    Jiminez showed remarkable restraint during the encounter, Zappley said.

    Police later charged Clark, 28, with multiple weapon possession charges, including possessing a weapon as a felon, and having a defaced firearm, as well as narcotics offenses. (Records show Clark served about a year in jail following a theft conviction in 2010.)

    The other three people were charged with narcotics offenses as well, Zappley said.

    Earlier this year, Jiminez was one of three Trenton officers lauded with the department's valor award. Jiminez was honored for saving the life of a distraught man who was hanging from an eighth-floor window at a high-rise apartment building.

    In that incident, in September 2017, Jiminez's body camera was rolling when he saved the man from certain death by hauling him back inside the apartment after the man had been hanging by his fingertips.

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

     

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    As legalization looms, a little over two dozen people will advise on how -- and whether -- marijuana prosecutions should be prioritized.

    Just days after urging municipal prosecutors to seek a temporary adjournment of marijuana-related prosecutions, Attorney General Gurbir S. Grewal on Friday convened a working group of prosecutors and police as well as civil rights organizations and defense attorneys.

    In a letter issued earlier this week asking prosecutors to adjourn cases until Sept. 4 or later, Grewal said his office would issue a directive sometime next month that would clarify the appropriate use of prosecutorial discretion in marijuana-related cases in municipal courts.

    "This working group will review how the municipal prosecutors under my supervision can contribute responsibly to the progressive solutions we are seeking," said Grewal in an statement emailed to media on Friday evening.

    Indeed, several of the working group's members favor legalization of cannabis, according to one municipal prosecutor who spoke on the condition of anonymity.

    Among those favoring legalization are NJ ACLU executive director Amol Sinha, Jersey City prosecutor Jake Hudunut, and Trenton Mayor Reed Gusciora, who until this year was a Democratic architect of the legalization effort in the Assembly.

    "I'm an urban mayor and former municipal prosecutor who's seen first hand marijuana enforcement," Gusciora told NJ Advance Media on Friday. "Even police think they have better things to do than marijuana. It takes thousands of dollars to prosecute a single joint, and it's a waste of money."

    But not everyone serving on the Attorney General's working group are so sure.

    "I think its dangerous when you have individual mayors making their own legal decisions," said Patrick Colligan, president of the 32,000 member New Jersey State Policemen's Benevolent Association. 

    "But we're open minded and glad to be included in the decision making process, because many of our members are intimately affected by this."

    The full membership of the working group follows:

    • Veronica Allende, director of the division of criminal justice within the attorney general's department of law and public safety, will chair the working group.
    • Matthew Berns, counsel to the attorney general
    • Richard T. Burke, Warren County Prosecutor;
    • Pat Colligan, president of the New Jersey State Policemen's Benevolent Association
    • Deputy Attorney General Claudia DeMitro
    • Annette DePalma, president of the New Jersey State Municipal Prosecutors' Association
    • Stephan Finkel, director of legislative affairs for the Department of Law and Public Safety
    • Charles Fiore, Gloucester County Prosecutor
    • Mayor W. Reed Gusciora of Trenton
    • Jake Hudnut, Jersey City's chief municipal prosecutor
    • Van Lane, deputy public defender of Monmouth County
    • Deputy Attorney General Robyn B. Mitchell
    • Jiles H. Ship, New Jersey police training commissioner
    • Ahmad Rasool, Municipal Prosecutor for the City of Newark
    • Amol Sinha, Executive Director of the ACLU of New Jersey
    • Richard T. Smith, President of the New Jersey State Conference of the NAACP
    • Steven A. Somogyi, Assistant Director of the New Jersey Judiciary
    • Sherry Stembridge, Assistant Essex County Prosecutor
    • Esther Suarez, Hudson County Prosecutor
    • John Zebrowski, Chief of Police, Sayreville.

    Jersey City's prosector, Jake Hudnut, said he was hopeful that the group would bring both clarity and flexibility to the issue.

    "Municipal prosecutors must be able to thoughtfully see that justice is done," said Hudnut. "I look forward to advocating for guidelines that give us the discretion and integrity we need to do that in our courts."

    The working group will issue its decision sometime in August, Grewal said.

    Claude Brodesser-Akner may be reached at cbrodesser@njadvancemedia.com. Follow him on Twitter @ClaudeBrodesser. Find NJ.com Politics on Facebook.


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    The girl's father punched the apparent kidnapper, who eventually got away

    A godmother with a cane and a father with a fist thwarted the kidnaping of a 7-year-old girl in Trenton this weekend, police said.

    The girl was not physically injured in the 9:30 p.m. attempt Saturday on Turpin Street in South Trenton.

    Police said the girl was playing on her street, just a few doors away from her home, when a man took her by the hand and tried to walk away with her. He was forceful, and made comments to nearby people that he was her father, police spokesman Lt. Darren Zappley said.

    The girl's godmother saw this and approached with her cane and swung it at the man and called for help, Zappley said.

    The girl's real father heard the commotion and raced out of his home and also swung at the man, with his fist - landing a shot to the apparent kidnapper's face.

    A scuffle ensued and they tried to detain the man, someone in their 20s or 30s with brown hair, but the stranger got away on foot. Responding patrol officers searched the area but could not locate any suspects, Zappley said.

    Anyone with information about the event is asked to contact Trenton police Lt. Zappley at dzappley@trentonpolice.net.

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

     

     


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    Tika Justice died when her Hamilton home suddenly collapsed last week

    Tika Justice's 20-year-old daughter fought back tears as clergy and township officials at Saint Phillip's Baptist Church spoke at a press conference Monday afternoon about the house collapse that killed her mother just last week.

    Pastor Joseph Woods, leader of Saint Phillip's, announced that the family is seeking help for funeral costs, as well as clothing and food for Justice's two daughters, who "lost everything" in the accident.

    A GoFundMe page has also been set up for Justice's funeral.

    "The girls are holding up strong, considering their circumstances," Woods said. "The girls lost much more than material items. They have lost their caring mother, who provided strength, love and motivation."

    Rescuers who arrived at the collapse on the 1800 block of South Broad Street found Justice's body. She was lying on top of her 16-year-old daughter.

    Justice's 16-year-old daughter is currently in rehabilitation for her injuries, Woods said. Her 20-year-old daughter escaped near the back of the house when it started to collapse around 7 a.m., and was recently released from the hospital.

    Justice, 38, struggled financially as a single mother since the girls' father died when they were younger, but made a living as a receptionist for a Bordentown accounting firm and supported her older daughter through a year of college, Woods said.

    Expo preview

    "She pushed her girls hard and wanted the best for them," he said.

    Nearly 100 years of rain and snow took its toll on the house's foundation, and the water damage eventually caused the three-story home to collapse in an instant, investigators and engineers found. Disintegrating concrete blocks gave way, and the floor joists slipped under their supports.

    "Can you imagine thinking it's going to be a typical Monday morning?" Hamilton Mayor Kelly Yaede said at the event. "And you hear cracking, and next thing you know, your entire home, its contents, your personal belongings, your photographs when you were a little girl -- all of that is lost. You can't imagine it, you hope to never imagine it."

    Saint Phillip's is accepting donations of cash, Visa gift cards and checks.

    "We hope what we're doing today can make these girls' lives a little easier," Yaede said.

    The church will provide more information to the public Wednesday, Woods said.

    Gianluca D'Elia may be reached at gdelia@njadvancemedia.comFollow him on Twitter @gianluca_delia. Find NJ.com on Facebook.


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    Kader Mustafa, 34, of Hightstown, will remain behind bars pending the outcome of this case

    A 34-year-old Hightstown man was indicted Monday on charges he fatally shot a 24-year-old woman as she drove with her boyfriend and 1-year-old child in May.

    kader-mustafa.jpgKader Mustafa

    The indictment, handed up by a grand jury in Monmouth County, charges Kader Mustafa with murder and weapons offenses in the killing of Sciasia Calhoun. 

    Calhoun was shot inside her vehicle as she drove on Route 33 at the exit ramp for Halls Mills Road in Freehold Township just before midnight on May 3. 

    Mustafa was driving a beat-up Chevrolet Impala at the time of the shooting, authorities said.

    NJ Advance Media reported shortly after the incident that Mustafa likely chose Calhoun at random

    Authorities were also looking into the possibility that Mustafa was responsible for two non-fatal shootings in April in Neptune Township and Holmdel. 

    The indictment does not charge him with those incidents, however. 

    Mustafa faces a maximum sentence of life in prison. He will remain behind bars pending the outcome of this case. 

    Alex Napoliello may be reached at anapoliello@njadvancemedia.com. Follow him on Twitter @alexnapoNJ. Find NJ.com on Facebook.

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    Employee at child welfare agency was accused of pressuring mothers into sex during court-ordered visits with their kids.

    lamont_king.jpgLamont King, 40, of Trenton. 

    TRENTON -- A former state family services worker accused of extorting sex from women he supervised during court-ordered visits with their children has pleaded guilty to official misconduct charges, authorities said. 

    Lamont King, of Trenton, was worker in the Division of Child Protection and Permanency at the state Department of Children and Families, where his duties included supervising family visits. 

    Part of the job was transporting the women and children to and from the visits. 

    He was charged in June and suspended from his $43,000-a-year public job after investigators allegedly found he had sex with a mother under his supervision on multiple occasions, kissing and groping the woman in his car and driving her to a Pennsylvania motel for another encounter.

    The woman did not report the behavior because she feared speaking out would "negatively affect her visits with her children," state prosecutors said at the time.

    After he was charged, investigators with the State Police public corruption bureau identified another woman who King allegedly pressured into sex while driving her to visit with her children in foster care.

    "King's predatory conduct against two vulnerable victims makes this a particularly offensive case of official misconduct," said Veronica Allende, the director of the state Division of Criminal Justice, which handled the case. 

    Under a plea deal, prosecutors are recommending King receive a three-year sentence for engaging in a pattern of official misconduct. He avoided pleading guilty to more serious charges including sexual assault, bribery and records tampering but will be permanently banned from public employment. 

    King's attorney did not immediately respond to a message seeking comment. He is scheduled for sentencing on November 16. 

    S.P. Sullivan may be reached at ssullivan@njadvancemedia.com. Follow him on Twitter. Find NJ.com on Facebook.


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    In the weeks after a night of violence marred Trenton's highly successful Art All Night program, residents continue to show their support for the city's burgeoning cultural scene.

    Human resilience - the ability to overcome unspeakable hardships and spring back to life - is a remarkable quality.

    Psychologists studying the phenomenon note that how effectively an individual can move forward in the face of adversity depends largely on a positive attitude, optimism, and the capacity to learn from failure.

    It's that way with communities as well.

    In the weeks after a night of violence marred Trenton's highly successful Art All Night program, residents continue to show their support for the city's burgeoning cultural scene.

    Events such as the Levitt AMP Trenton Music Series continue to attract sizeable - and growing - audiences, a testament to the city's strong inner core and determination to overcome odds.

    Jeffrey Augustin, a vendor at a First Friday event that offers music and art at Front and Warren streets, summed up his feelings in sentiments both simple and profound.

    "Trenton does not let anything stop us. We still keep on going." Augustin said.

    For a dozen years, Art All Night has been a beacon of light for artists, musicians, food vendors and others, who have seen it as a way to showcase the best talent the region has to offer.

    For all those years, the widely touted and hugely popular event had been incident-free, until last month's shooting injured 22 people and left the suspected gunman dead in what police believe to be gang-related activity.

    Shooting at Art All Night isn't the portrait to remember

    Understandably, the jarring dose of reality left the community reeling.

    But every music lover who turns up at the Levitt series - 10 free concerts that light up Mill Hill Park every Thursday night through the end of August - and every culture lover who turns out for First Friday festivities affirms the city's ability to regroup.

    Sure, we feel a heightened sense of vulnerability. Sure, we notice an increased police presence. Even before the Art All Night tragedy the Trenton Downtown Association, which organizes the Levitt concerts, had amped up its security measures.

    Because, sadly, that's the world we live in. But that doesn't mean we have to give up in despair.

    "I think every concert we have had, a little more people came out," said Tom Gilmore, executive director of the Trenton Downtown Association.

    And that, psychologists say, is the secret ingredient in resilience: You may not be able to change the fact that horrible things happen, but you can change how you respond to them.

    As Jeffrey Augustin's words remind us, "We still keep on going."

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

     

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    Middlesex County Superior Court Assignment Judge Alberto Rivas wrote in the order it was "in the interest of justice to establish a process for immediate release" of people who could not post bail of $500 or less

    As part of the state judiciary's overhaul of the bail system in New Jersey, the top judge in Middlesex County has ordered the release of people arrested and held for failing to appear in municipal court over minor offenses, such as unpaid parking tickets. 

    The majority of the counties have already rolled out similar local-level bail reform in response to recent public scrutiny and a scathing report by the state judiciary earlier this month, according to Peter McAleer, a spokesman for the Administrative Office of the Courts.

    But the move last week came as a surprise law enforcement in the county.

    Superior Court Assignment Judge Alberto Rivas wrote in the order -- which was issued on July 25 and obtained by NJ Advance Media Monday -- it was "in the interest of justice to establish a process for immediate release" of people who could not post bail of $500 or less due to the "negative consequences" the practice has on residents and their families. 

    If bail is set above $500 for the minor municipal charges, according to the order, the person is entitled to a hearing within 48 hours to determine whether or not the person can be released with a future court date.  

    The order essentially extends the practices of the state's sweeping criminal bail reform into municipal courtrooms, where the majority of residents have their interactions with the justice system over parking tickets and other low-level offenses. 

    Under the reform last year, cash bail was all but eliminated in criminal cases and, instead, judges would either set varied release restrictions or jail the person because they were a risk to the public or unlikely to return to court. 

    Andrea Boulton, a spokeswoman for the Middlesex County Prosecutor's Office, said the agency, which oversees and issues policy directives to local law enforcement, was taken by surprise when they learned of the order late last week. 

    "We weren't even given a copy of the order," Boulton said. 

    The order is expected to reduce police resources spent on low-level offenses.

    The state judiciary had asked the superior court assignment judges across the state to issue guidance on the municipal court bail process as part of the recent criminal justice reform in New Jersey, McAleer said. 

    Atlantic County Superior Court Assignment Judge Julio L. Mendez, who was on that committee, was the first to issue a similar municipal bail order last year, according to McAleer.

    The recent report by a committee charged with reviewing New Jersey's local court system said the courts profited off of poor defendants, pulling in $400 million in fines and fees in 2017.  

    Craig McCarthy may be reached at 732-372-2078 or at CMcCarthy@njadvancemedia.com. Follow him on Twitter @createcraig and on Facebook here. Find NJ.com on Facebook.

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    The men allegedly made deals with undercover officers

    Three men were arrested in Princeton recently on possession and distribution of marijuana, acid and prescription narcotics charges, the Mercer County Prosecutor's Office said Tuesday. 

    The investigation focused on Oleksandr Linnyk, 26, of Princeton, who prosecutors allege was running a marijuana and acid distribution network.

    Linnyk distributed marijuana and a first-degree crime amount of acid to an undercover officer, and brothers Guillermo Velez, 19, and Andres Velez, 22, had distributed marijuana to an undercover officer, the office alleges. 

    Detectives conducted a motor-vehicle stop on Kinnyk in Princeton and executed a search warrant on his car. He was found to be in possession of seven acid tabs, prosecutors said.

    Authorities also found 10 grams of marijuana, two acid tabs, three Xanax pills, one Suboxone pill and 10 grams of 2-CP, a synthetic hallucinogen at Kinnyk's residence. 

    Police found about 25 grams of marijuana, drug paraphernalia and $791 in cash at the Princeton residence, on Red Oak Row, where both Velez brothers live.

    Linnyk was charged with numerous first-, second- and third-degree drug offenses. The prosecutor's office has filed a motion to detain him.

    The Velez brothers were charged with numerous third-degree drug offenses and released pending future court proceedings.

    Paige Gross may be reached at pgross@njadvancemedia.comFollow her on Twitter @By_paigegross.  


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    A new sighting of spotted lanternfly in Mercer County has caused New Jersey to take new action to stop the spread of the bug.

    In a scramble to stop the spread of an invasive, tree-killing pest, the state has placed three counties under quarantine, placing restrictions on what goods can be transported in and out of the the area.

    The New Jersey Department of Agriculture announced Tuesday that Mercer County, Warren County and Hunterdon County were being placed under the quarantine after a spotted lanternfly sighting was confirmed in Mercer County. Two sightings of the pest had previously been confirmed in southern Warren County.

    "The Spotted Lanternfly is an excellent hitchhiker, with the ability travel on all types of vehicles as well as various landscaping, wood-based materials and agricultural produce," New Jersey Secretary of Agriculture Douglas Fisher said on Tuesday. "It's imperative that we stop the movement of this pest before it can make an impact on New Jersey."

    This vicious, tree-killing pest is feared by many. Now, it has been found in N.J.

    Hunterdon County was included in the quarantine because of its location between the two sightings.

    Businesses and the general public in the three counties are required to obtain and fill out a New Jersey residence checklist before moving a number of items, from snowmobiles to bricks. A full list of the affected items can be found here.

    Businesses that regularly travel in and out of the quarantine area are required to take and pass training for dealing with the spotted lanternfly. It is not clear if this applies to businesses just passing through the area.

    The quarantine allows for NJDA agents, USDA agents and USDA contracted agents to access any property where spotted lanternfly is suspected or confirmed to be inhabiting, in order to evaluate and potentially treat the property.

    The NJDA did not immediately respond to questions seeking clarification of the quarantine rules.

    The training is provided for free by the Pennsylvania Department of Agriculture, and can be found here. The NJDA said that the state will accept and recognize Pennsylvania permits.

    Besides the quarantine, the state is continuing to treat the locations where the pest has been found in New Jersey and monitor for spotted lanternflies in the affected counties.

    The spotted lanternfly has the potential to devastate New Jersey trees and crops. The bug prefers Tree of Heaven as its host, but it is known to feed on over 70 other plant species from ornamental trees to cash crops like grapes and hops.

    The spotted lanternfly feeds on the sap of its host plants, and leaves behind a sugary substance called "honeydew" that encourages fungal growth and new insects on the weakened plants.

    The invasive species, a native of East Asia and India, was first spotted in Pennsylvania in 2014. The insect was found at a stone importing business, and Pennsylvania officials believe it came in with an order of landscaping stones from Korea.

    In Pennsylvania, 13 counties are currently under a quarantine similar to New Jersey's because of the spotted lanternfly.

    The NJDA warns that the spotted lanternfly is currently in a later nymph stage at this time of the year, and is likely to be red with white spots before becoming a full adult in mid-August.

    SLFredNJDA.jpgA spotted lanternfly in the nymph stage, with red colorings. Spotted lanternfly nymphs may also be black with white spots. 

    The NJDA is asking for help in identifying areas where low numbers of this insect may be. Residents can email pictures of suspect insects to SLF-plantindustry@ag.nj.gov or call the New Jersey Spotted Lanternfly Hotline at 1-833-223-2840 (BAD-BUG-0) and leave a message detailing your sighting and contact information.

    Michael Sol Warren may be reached at mwarren@njadvancemedia.com. Follow him on Twitter @MSolDub. Find NJ.com on Facebook.


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    The city saw 8 killings in the first half of the year, compared to 10 this time last year


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    Jacob Garrett was driving when his car plunged into the icy waters. Stephanie White, 23, drowned in the vehicle Watch video

    A man accused of leaving his girlfriend to die in a car that was sinking into the icy Delaware River admitted Tuesday that he caused her death.

    Jacob Garrett, 25, pleaded guilty to first-degree vehicular homicide and second-degree leaving the scene of a fatal accident, Burlington County Prosecutor Scott Coffina announced Tuesday. 

    Jacob T. GarrettA.JPGJacob Garrett in a recent mugshot 

    Authorities said Garrett was speeding near the river wall in Burlington City on Jan. 14, when his car struck another car and launched into the river, which was coated with ice. 

    Photos of the crash scene showed the car stuck in the ice, with the front seats submerged.

    Witnesses who came to the scene reported Garrett saying "help my girlfriend" before fleeing. 

    Emergency responders later pulled Stephanie White, 23, of Burlington City, from the sunken vehicle, her seatbelt still fastened.

    A Burlington City K-9 Officer tracked Garrett to a light rail station before ordering the train stopped at the Beverly/Edgewater Park stop. Officers found Garrett there and arrested him.

    As part of a plea deal, prosecutors will ask Judge Terrence Cook to sentence Garrett to 15 years at the Oct. 18 proceeding.

    garrett-cries.jpgAt his Jan. 23 detention hearing, Jacob Garrett yelled "get me outta here" as court officers tried to calm him. (Michael Mancuso | For NJ.com) 

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

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    Jimmy Stormant was no hardened criminal - just angry, distraught, drunk and armed

    It wasn't much of a whodunit.

    Jimmy Stormant did flee after he pumped 10 shotgun blasts into the office at his mobile park in Bucks County, Pennsylvania last fall, but he drove home with plans to end his life.

    Police arrived at his Pennwood Crossing mobile home in Falls Township, and so did his mother - who he'd called to say goodbye - and they saved the distraught Stormant, who sat with a Bible, a bottle of Johnnie Walker scotch and a Ruger revolver.

    Stormant copy.jpgJimmy Stormant 

    The Stormant saga ended Monday in a Bucks County courtroom when a judge sentenced him to a day less than a year to a day less than two years in the county jail. 

    Jimmy was no master criminal, just angry, distraught, drunk and armed, and the judge gave him a second chance.

    So did the man who was inside the office with his wife and were nearly stuck by the volley of gunfire.

    Stormant was angry at them - Doran and Andrea Johnson, who work at the park - due to electric problems at his mobile home. They'd just told Stormant they weren't responsible for the maintenance issues.

    "I can only imagine what you felt that day, and being here today, going through it again,' Stormant told Doran Johnson, the Bucks County District Attorney's Office said.

    "I am sincerely and wholeheartedly sorry. I feel terrible today," Stormant told him.

    "I forgive you," Doran Johnson replied.

    Stormant, 56, was found guilty May 10 of aggravated assault and discharging a firearm into an occupied building during a bench trial by Judge Raymond F. McHugh.

    At his sentencing Monday, Stormant said he awoke Sept. 12, 2017 intending to die. He withdrew all his money from his bank account and put it into an envelope for his mother, then dropped his dog off with his ex-wife.

    A machinist and a truck driver, debilitating injuries had left him unable to work, throwing him deep into debt and exacerbating his alcoholism, he said, the district attorney's office reported.

    "I thought that there was no light at the end of the tunnel. I seen no other way out and I felt that I had nowhere to turn," Stormant said. "I did what I did out of frustration, rage and pure anger."

    And of his mother, he said: "I remember wanting to shoot myself, but I couldn't do it in front of my mother," he told McHugh.

    Judge McHugh noted Stormant's lack of a prior criminal record, his emotional state at the time of the crime his remorse and his ongoing efforts to overcome his alcoholism.

    "I don't think it does any good for you to go to a state correctional institution," McHugh said, the office reported. "You have been a model prisoner, and I think you are the type of person the court should take a chance on."

    Stormant's ex-wife went to the sentencing and described him as a kind, unselfish man whose troubles had "broken" him. Also in his corner were about 10 relatives and friends - one a former prisoner whom Stormant had mentored, the office said.

    And his mother was there too, and asked the judge to "understand where he was at when he did the terrible thing he did," saying her son "will always be sorry for what he did."

    Part of Stormant's sentencing also includes undergoing mental health and alcohol abuse  counseling.

    No problem, he told the judge: "I have no intention of ever touching another drop, ever."

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

     

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    This weekend brings the return of the top summer basketball showcase in the state, as the 2018 Summer Shootout gets underway at Trenton Catholic Academy. Many of the top programs in New Jersey and surrounding states, plus the top local programs, will contest the four-day event, which gets underway Thursday at noon. Friday will have games contested starting at...

    This weekend brings the return of the top summer basketball showcase in the state, as the 2018 Summer Shootout gets underway at Trenton Catholic Academy.

    Many of the top programs in New Jersey and surrounding states, plus the top local programs, will contest the four-day event, which gets underway Thursday at noon.

    Friday will have games contested starting at 10 a.m., and running until 9 p.m. Saturday will see games played from 8 a.m. until 10 p.m., while Sunday will go from 9 a.m. until 9 p.m.

    2018 SUMMER SHOOTOUT SCHEDULE

    All games played at Trenton Catholic Academy

    Thursday, August 2nd, 2018

    12:00 pm - Montgomery vs. Princeton Day School

    1:00 pm -  STEM vs. Bordentown

    2:00 pm - Princeton Day School vs. Nottingham   

    3:00 pm -  Bordentown vs. Montgomery

    4:00 pm -  St. Benedict's vs. Trenton Catholic   

    5:00 pm -  Moorestown vs. Montgomery   

    6:00 pm -  Paul VI vs. St. Benedict's

    7:00 pm -  Nottingham vs. Moorestown   

    8:00 pm -  Notre Dame vs. Paul VI  

    Friday, August 3rd, 2018

    10:00 am - Nottingham vs. South Brunswick

    11:00 am - Trenton Catholic vs. Morristown

    12:00 pm - South Brunswick vs. STEM

    1:00 pm -  Academy Charter vs. Nottingham     

    2:00 pm -  Morristown vs. Notre Dame    

    3:00 pm -  Moorestown vs. Academy Charter

    4:00 pm -  St. Benedict's vs. Perkiomen Prep      

    5:00 pm -  Bishop Ahr vs. Moorestown    

    6:00 pm -  Perkiomen Prep vs. Paul VI    

    7:00 pm -  St. Benedict's vs. Bishop Ahr    

    8:00 pm -  Paul VI vs. Trenton Catholic

    Saturday, August 4th, 2018

    8:00 am -  Bordentown vs. South Brunswick  

    9:00 am -  St. Peter's Prep vs. Bishop Ahr   

    10:00 am - South Brunswick vs. Notre Dame

    11:00 am - Bishop Ahr vs. Bordentown

    12:00 pm - Notre Dame vs. St. Peter's Prep   

    1:00 pm - St. Benedict's vs. Camden

    2:00 pm -  Hun vs. Patrick School Celtics #2   

    3:00 pm -   Patrick School Celtics #1 vs. St. Benedict's   

    4:00 pm -  Camden vs. Hun   

    5:00 pm -  Morristown vs. Hyde (Conn)   

    6:00 pm -  P S Celtics #2 vs. Wm. Allen (Pa)   

    7:00 pm - Trenton Central vs. P S Celtics #1   

    8:00 pm -  Wm. Allen (Pa) vs. Morristown  

    9:00 pm -  Hyde(Conn) vs. Trenton Central  

    Sunday, August 5th, 2017

    9:00 am - STEM vs. Hyde(Conn)  

    10:00 am - Hun vs. Trenton Central    

    11:00 pm   P S Celtics #1 vs. Camden   

    12:00 pm - Trenton Catholic vs. P S Celtics #2   

    1:00 pm -  Camden vs. Perkiomen Prep    

    2:00 pm -  P S Celtics #1 vs. Hun  

    3:00 pm - Perkiomen Prep vs. P S Celtics #2    

    4:00 pm - Wm. Allen (Pa) vs. Hyde (Conn)  

    5:00 pm - Trenton Central vs. Academy Charter

    6:00 pm - Princeton Day School  vs. Wm. Allen (Pa)

    7:00 pm -  Academy Charter vs. STEM

    8:00 pm - Trenton Catholic vs. Princeton Day School

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


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    Donation organizers say Tika Justice's daughters primarily need monetary donations now.

    Three young girls dressed in capes and sold lemonade on a street corner. A clothing drive at a community center generated a mountain of donations. And a GoFundMe has steadily collected much-needed cash to help a family in need.

    The community support for two grieving daughters, whose mother was killed last week when their Hamilton Township house collapsed on them, has been heartfelt and generous, organizers said.

    Tika Justice, 38, was found dead in the rubble of the house on top of her 16-year-old daughter on July 23. The teen was recused from the destruction with her 20-year-old sister.

    Authorities said nearly a century of water damage took its toll on the foundation of the house, causing it to flatten like a pancake in a matter of moments.

    While one daughter stayed with family and the other continues rehabilitation, community members and organizations have been busy raising funds for Tika Justice's funeral and for her daughters to get back on their feet.

    Three girls, dubbed the Lemonheads, sold 50 cent cups of lemonade on the corner of Walnut and Farnsworth Avenue in Bordentown, a one-minute walk from where Justice formerly worked.

    Justice was a regular customer at Danielle McElmoyl's restaurant, Oliver A Bistro, and when she heard about Justice's death, she encouraged her daughter and two friends to give their proceeds to the grieving family.

    When word got out that John S. Pavlovsky, Justice's former employer, would match whatever they raised Monday, people kept driving by and handing the girls $10 and $20 bills, according to Pavlovsky.

    He said he intends to drop off $1,750 for the family at Saint Phillips Baptist Church in Hamilton on Wednesday evening.

    Pavlovsky's and the Bordentown community's contribution might help the church reach it's $10,000 goal for Justice's funeral costs.

    Angelo Hall, executive director of the John O. Wilson Neighborhood Service Center who is partnering with the church, said they expect to reach that goal by Wednesday, enabling them to pay for the upcoming Saturday funeral.

    The church and the center have been alternating as drop-off points for clothing donations, and Hall said they have received roughly 200 bags of clothes.

    What the Justice daughters don't use will be given to others in the area, he said. Hall said the family now mostly needs monetary donations in the form of checks, and prepaid gift cards to help Justice's daughters with living expenses.

    Services for Tika Justice will be on Saturday from 9 to 11 a.m. at Saint Phillips Baptist Church in Hamilton with a funeral to follow.

    Cassidy Grom may be reached at cgrom@njadvancemedia.com Follow her at @cassidygrom. Find NJ.com on Facebook.

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    Mark Schweiker is from Bucks County, Pa.

    Former Pennsylvania Gov. Mark Schweiker has taken a position as executive in residence at Rider University, where he earned a master's degree in the early 1980s.

    Schweiker, a Bucks County, Pennsylvania native, was that state's 44th governor, serving from late 2001 until early 2003. He had served as lieutenant governor before that, starting in 1995.

    He took over the state's top elected office from Tom Ridge, who left the post to become the country's first secretary of homeland security about a month after the Sept. 11, 2001 terrorist attacks.

    Schweiker had already decided not to run for governor in the 2002 election, and served 15 months in office during a time of heightened national security and reform, which Rider touted in their announcement of his hiring.

    He'll share his "considerable emergency management, crisis response and counter-terrorism experience" to support Rider's homeland security program, a 36-credit master of arts degree in the political science department.

    "As our homeland security program continues to grow, we are privileged that Gov. Schweiker has agreed to dedicate his time and energy and share his experience, knowledge and expertise with our students," Provost and Vice President for Academic Affairs DonnaJean A. Fredeen said in the announcement.

    Schweiker earned his master's in management from Rider in 1983 and the school in Lawrence awarded him an honorary doctor of laws in 2004.

    The former governor also made headlines in the summer of 2002 when he oversaw the rescue of nine miners at the Quecreek Mine in Somerset County. He was at the site daily, updating the media, and triumphantly announced, "Nine for Nine," when the last trapped miner rose to the surface.

    He currently serves as the senior vice president and corporate development officer of Renmatix, Inc., a sustainable alternatives company.

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


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    Smith said online-based threats "went up like a rocket" after the 2016 election

    A Plainfield man was arrested Saturday on a felony charge accusing him of making threats on social media targeting U.S. Rep. Chris Smith. 

    Dereal Finklin, 43, is charged with making terroristic threats and is being held at the Monmouth County Correctional Institute in Freehold. 

    He is scheduled to have a detention hearing next week.

    Monmouth County Prosecutor's Office spokesman Chris Swendeman said the threat against Smith, R-4th Dist., was made online. 

    Swendeman said he could not discuss the nature of the threat. 

    In a phone interview on Wednesday following a meeting in Ocean County, Smith said the threat was spotted by a retired police officer, who then notified the congressman's office. 

    "I am glad the prosecutor's office is involved," he said. "It won't change what I am doing."

    Smith said this is not the first time he and his office have had to deal with such an incident, which he described as "unbridled hate."

    The congressman said he feels like he deals with online attacks "24/7."

    "I've never seen it like it's been the last two years, even before the election, and it went up like a rocket after (the 2016 election)," Smith said.

    Smith has represented New Jersey's 4th congressional district since 1981 and only two other current representatives have longer terms. He once chaired the Veteran's Affairs Committee in the House and is currently a senior member of the House Foreign Affairs Committee.

    The district covers parts of Mercer, Monmouth and Ocean counties, and Smith has local offices in Freehold, Plumsted and Hamilton. 

    - NJ Advance Media reporter Kevin Shea contributed to this report. 

    Alex Napoliello may be reached at anapoliello@njadvancemedia.com. Follow him on Twitter @alexnapoNJ. Find NJ.com on Facebook.

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    Seventeen states have already adopted a so-called "community solar program," and now, with Gov. Phil Murphy's blessings, New Jersey's Board of Public Utilities is looking to develop a regulatory framework for one here as well.

    The sun's warmth and radiance are accessible free of charge to any New Jersey resident. Converting those resources to usable power, not so much.

    Although more than 90,000 solar power arrays have been installed within our state's borders in the past 10 years, a large segment of the population remains in the shadows.

    But that may change soon, thanks to a project designed to open up this field of renewable energy to renters, people living in multi-family homes, lower-income residents, and people living in areas suffering from dangerous pollution.

    Seventeen states have already adopted a so-called "community solar program," and now, with Gov. Phil Murphy's blessings, New Jersey's Board of Public Utilities is looking to develop a regulatory framework for one here as well.

    Community solar programs aim to provide widened access to solar energy by allowing individual community members to receive credits on their electric bills for their portion of the power produced by shared solar arrays.

    Advocates point out that a third of the households in the Garden State are living in rental units, and an even larger swath of people live in multi-family housing. For them, the benefits of solar energy - mainly financial savings and environmental stewardship - have too long been beyond their grasp.

    Going solar could pay out even more cash in N.J. | Editorial

    The pilot program, still in its earliest stages, would likely consist of 150 megawatts of community-solar projects a year, none of them exceeding five megawatts of capacity.

    Participants at a recent meeting to solicit input from solar executives and community activists said such a goal is both realistic and attainable.

    Pari Kasotia, Mid-Atlantic director of Vote Solar, urged that the pollution-laden areas known as environmental justice communities should have clean energy delivered to their neighborhoods, and should also be able to benefit from the increased job opportunities community-solar projects promise.

    Minnesota, Massachusetts and New York are among the states leading the way in the community-solar parade, with new arrays coming online every month.

    Here, we still have a way to go. One challenge is finding the available land necessary in urban areas to attract builders to undertake cost-effective projects. Another is determining whether such projects should be allowed to be developed on farmland or open space.

    Although these are no small stumbling blocks, the bottom line is that community-solar installations bring renewable energy to people who would not otherwise have access to it.

    The sooner they find a home in New Jersey, the sooner more residents of the nation's most densely populated state will be able to reap the sun's bounties.

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

     

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    Rooms for rent from New Jersey's past.

    A report by the Combined Heat and Power Partnership (CHP) of the Environmental Protection Agency shows that in 2015 there were a total of 101,668 rooms available to book in New Jersey.

    From bed and breakfasts to centuries old historic houses to the classic motel signs and designs of the Jersey Shore, travelers have always had a tremendous choice of places to stay in New Jersey.

    MORE: Vintage photos around New Jersey

    Here's a gallery of vintage hotels and motels, as well as links to other galleries you might enjoy.

    Vintage photos of N.J. hotels, motels and inns

    Vintage photos of mansions and estates in N.J.

    Vintage photos of estates and mansions in N.J.

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


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