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Central Jersey News from the Times of Trenton

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    The Garden State has a whole lot more than gardens.


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    NJ Advance Media breaks down the top scoring threats back in 2018.


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    The girl successfully rebuffed the man's advances, police said

    A 10-year-old girl walking home from a friend's house Wednesday evening was accosted by a man in a car who turned around on on Riverside Drive East to approach her and ask questions.

    The girl successfully rebuffed the man's advances, and made it home, Princeton police said Thursday in a statement. Extra police patrols were added to the area as a precaution, the department said.

    The incident occurred at about 5 p.m., but police did not learn about it until about 8:50 p.m., the said in a statement.

    Police said the girl was walking on Prospect Street when she noticed a red sedan or coupe, possibly a "Mazda type car," with a "stock looking spoiler" on the back. It was driving south on Riverside Drive East and passed her, made a u-turn, and then came back and turned left on Prospect Avenue and stopped near her.

    "Are you ok? Do you need a ride?," the man asked. The girl told the driver she was fine and did not need any assistance. He then asked, "Where are you going?" The girl did not answer, and walked home, police said.

    The man left the area by making another u-turn and driving east on Prospect Avenue before turning right and traveling south on Riverside Drive East., police said.

    Police described the driver as a light-skinned man about 40 to 50 years old with thinning, light brown hair who wore a yellow shirt.

    Investigators labeled the incident an attempted luring. Princeton police said they reported the incident to the New Jersey State Police C.A.L.L.S (Child Attempted Luring Linkage System).

    Anyone with information about the driver or incident can contact Detective Robert Allie at 609-921-2100 ext. 2123, or the department's confidential tip line at 609-688-2049.

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

     

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    The Florence couple who started a GoFundMe fundraiser for a homeless man is now being investigated by the Burlington County Prosecutor's Office

    Early Thursday morning, Burlington County authorities executed a search warrant at the Florence home of Mark D'Amico and Katie McClure -- the couple who raised more than $400,000 for a homeless veteran who helped out McClure when she ran out of gas in Philadelphia last year. 

    County prosecutors say, the couple's home was searched "in connection with a criminal investigation" into what happened to tens of thousands of dollars raised during a GoFundMe fundraiser for Johnny Bobbitt. 

    No one has been charged, Burlington County Prosecutor Scott A. Coffina said Thursday. He did not elaborate on the case.

    Expo preview

    Former Morris County Prosecutor and current trial attorney Bob Bianchi told NJ Advance Media that there are a few different charges D'Amico and McClure could be facing.

    "There are various ways to be charged with a criminal offense if you're taking money under the guise of one thing or receiving money under false pretenses," he said.

    Bianchi added that the language used on the original GoFundMe page will be extremely relevant in determining if it's a case of fraud or theft by deception.

    "If the page says it's going to this homeless dude, and people donate under the guise that the money is going to him, and these people are using it for themselves, that is fraud," Bianchi said. 

    A once-heartwarming story turned into allegations of missing money a few weeks ago, and a civil lawsuit filed by Bobbitt alleging the couple was withholding the money raised on GoFundMe that was supposed to get him back on his feet. 

    After first stating there was about $200,000 left after using some to get Bobbitt a place to live and set up a bank account, during legal proceedings this week, McClure's and D'Amico's lawyers revealed there was no money left. 

    If prosecutors pursue a theft or theft by deception case, Bianchi said, the amount that was stolen would also determine what charges could be filed. 

    Ask Alexa

    Anything more than $75,000 would make the crime a second-degree theft charge, compared to a third-degree charge, which carries a lesser sentence. 

    The Burlington County Prosecutors Office could not be reached for comment after their initial statement about the search warrant.

    GoFundMe said Tuesday it deposited $20,000 in an account for Bobbitt and is working with authorities in their investigation to see that funds raised for Bobbitt reach him.

    After GoFundMe collected its fees from the fundraiser, there was approximately $350,000 distributed to the couple.

    Donors could receive a refund for donations if the company finds something improper, according to the company's statement, which pointed to GoFundMe's refund policy on its website.

    The couple's attorney, Ernest Badway, declined to comment when reached by NJ Advance Media on Thursday.

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


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    The bag contained 10,00 doses of heron in bright-colored packages labeled "Black Friday"

    Bucks County authorities say a backpack left at a Bensalem, Pennsylvania school that had 10,000 doses of heroin - valued at $100,000 on the streets - belonged to a Trenton man.

    Gerome Nelson, 34, was arrested last week on felony drug charges and making terroristic threats to a woman who was cooperating with police in the case, Bensalem police wrote in a probable cause affidavit for his arrest.

    heroin_bundles.jpgThe heroin bricks from the backpack. (Bensalem police) 

    Nelson lives on Carver Lane in Trenton's North 25 housing project and goes by the street name Rome. Authorities traced the phones he allegedly uses to sell drugs to the address, and "pinged" one of them while he was under surveillance in the month of August, the affidavit alleges.

    Officials at Cecilia Snyder Middle School found the backpack on Dec. 20, 2017 in a rear parking lot and called police, who found brightly-colored units of heroin packaged into four bricks. It was stamped with the brand name, "Black Friday."

    Two days later, the discovery made headlines across the Greater Philadelphia area.

    In January, police arrested a Bensalem woman on drug charges after she admitted to accidentally leaving the bag at the school, but kept investigating to find the source of the heroin.

    In the affidavit, police wrote that the woman started cooperating with them in the case as a witness, but did not identify her.

    The witness told police the heroin belonged to Nelson, and she had held the bag for him starting in November 2017 because he could not trust anyone else. Once, he asked the person to meet him at the Dairy Queen in Morrisville so he could retrieve something from it.

    After the person left the bag at the school, she first told Nelson her brother was stopped by the police with the bag, and Nelson persisted in asking her questions about it, through calls, and he was "freaking out" about the situation.

    In one exchange, he said, "What am I going to tell the people that own the bag?"

    The woman said Nelson accused her of stealing the bag, and he threatened to kill her in a text. After seeing news reports that the bag was apparently left at the school by accident, though, Nelson told the woman he was sorry and only texted the threats to show "people' he was mad at her, police say in the affidavit.

    The two phones Nelson allegedly used to sell drugs were registered to a John Madden on Carver Lane.

    Nelson has a court date next week in Bucks County court.

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

     

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    The teen, who was shot Thursday afternoon, is in stable condition Watch video

    A teenager was shot while driving on East State Street in Trenton Thursday afternoon, just days after a Labor Day weekend that saw 10 people shot in the city - one fatally.

    Around 1:15 p.m., police responded to several calls for shots fired at the 900 block East State Street near Greg Grant Park, Trenton Police Capt. Stephen Varn said. The scene is a block away from the PJ Hill elementary school.

    A 19-year-old male sustained a gunshot wound to right thigh. He was rushed to an area hospital and is in stable condition, Varn said. 

    The 19-year-old was sitting in traffic on the way to visit a friend when a suspect started firing rounds and shot into his car. Police described the gunman only as a male wearing a black shirt and tan pants. 

    The shooting was under investigation Thursday evening.

    sh0100.00_0.jpgTrenton Police investigate a shooting on East State Street early Thursday afternoon. (Michael Mancuso | NJ Advance Media) 

    Trenton Mayor Reed Gusciora visited the crime scene, but the mayor was not immediately available for comment later in the day.

    Addressing the weekend shootings through a statement on Tuesday, Gusciora said "in the short run, we need more cops on our streets."

    But in the long run, he added, the city needs to address the societal issues pushing young people to gun violence. 

    "While there are no overnight solutions to Trenton's recent rash of gun violence, we have agreed to coordinate police resources so that we can have adequate personnel on the streets," Gusciora said in the statement. 

    The teen was wounded Thursday in the same section of the street where another 19-year-old, Hamilton resident Kuyler Fowler, was shot dead while sitting in the front seat of an Audi in May.

    No arrests or charges have been announced in Fowler's killing.

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

     

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    Even after meeting the undercover cop who was pretending to a 14-year-old, the suspect intended to have a sexual encounter, police say

    A Bordentown Township man attempted to meet a 14-year-old boy for sex in a Robbinsville park after exchanging 100 emails with him, authorities say.

    When Joseph Coleman arrived at the park Wednesday, members of the Mercer County Prosecutor's Office were waiting to arrest him.

    Joseph Coleman.jpgJoseph Coleman 

    The boy Coleman was emailing was an undercover detective, Mercer County Prosecutor Angelo Onofri announced Thursday.

    Coleman, 54, is charged with second-degree luring of a child and second-degree attempting to engage in an act of sexual penetration with a child.

    "We want offenders to know we are out there online, protecting our children," Onofri said in the statement. "We will aggressively pursue and prosecute those predators that attempt to exploit and harm the most innocent of victims."

    In the statement, Onofri said detectives began an investigation in July targeting individuals who are targeting children online.

    The undercover detective -- posing as a 14-year-old boy -- responded to an online ad and triggered more than 100 email exchanges with Coleman. They were sexually graphic at times and Coleman made many attempts to arrange a meeting, Onofri said.

    The detective arranged the meeting for Wednesday, and met with Coleman after he arrived at about 3:15 p.m. After a conversation, Coleman walked with the undercover officer to a more secluded area of the park in order to engage in sexual conduct, Onofri alleged.

    He was then arrested without incident.

    Coleman was being held Thursday in the Mercer County jail pending a detention hearing.

    Onofri urged anyone with information about suspicious online activity with children or possible exploitation of children to contact the prosecutor's Internet Crimes Against Children (ICAC) Unit at 609-989-6568 or the New Jersey Internet Crimes Against Children Task Force tipline at 888-648-6007.

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

     

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    A Practitioner Orders for Life Sustaining Treatment document lets healthcare providers know what measures - if any - you would like followed if you are unable to communicate your wishes yourself.

    A medical document with the unwieldy acronym POLST may be your ticket for assuring that your final days play out the way you'd like them to.

    The letters stand for Practitioner Orders for Life Sustaining Treatment, and in plain English, they let healthcare providers know what measures - if any - you would like followed if you are unable to communicate your wishes yourself.

    Now officials with the state Department of Human Services are taking a new look at these directives and other end-of-life matters in hopes of improving patient care.

    Last week they announced they will expand Medicaid coverage for advanced care planning, which has important implications for the 1.7 million low-income residents who depend on the federal health-insurance program.

    The move follows similar efforts by DHS, which oversees Medicaid, to look beyond traditional doctor visits to cover such services as diabetes education and smoke-cessation programs.

    Electronic POLST puts end-of-life wishes in the patient's hands

    It's also a response to organizations such as the New Jersey Health Care Quality Institute, which has been pushing the state to focus its energies on better informing Garden State residents about the options available as the end of life nears.

    The organization seeks more robust funding for palliative care services, an approach that focuses on keeping patients comfortable and pain-free during life-threatening illnesses.

    It also advocates paying physicians higher rates for end-of-life consultations, conversations too few doctors are trained to enter into.

    Ninety-nine percent of physicians taking part in a recent national poll said these discussions are necessary, but fewer than one-third of them said they had received any formal training on conducting them.

    Only 14 percent said they billed for such a consultation.

    Making patients aware of the POLST forms, which are available online on the Department of Health website, is a valuable step as New Jersey's population ages.

    Signed by both the doctor and the seriously ill patient, the document spells out preferences about such life-saving procedures as cardiopulmonary resuscitation, mechanical ventilation, intubation and artificially administered nutrition.

    At its simplest, the form helps a patient avoid unwanted medical intervention, while providing peace of mind for family members seeking guidance during a tense and emotion-laden time.

    While the POLST forms aren't new - former Gov. Chris Christie signed legislation authorizing their use in 2011 - what is new are efforts to develop an electronic system for storing the information in a database that will be immediately accessible to hospitals and health-care providers statewide.

    Putting a priority on end-of-life strategies is a welcome development, one that will not only help reign in medical expenditures over the long run, but also serve as a source of comfort to the state's patients and their loved ones.

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

     

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    Eric Rue of Bucks County, Pennsylvania was shot multiple times

    A 29-year-old man with convictions for dealing drugs and burglary has been charged with killing a Pennsylvania man in Trenton last weekend, authorities announced Thursday.

    Mycol Beckett.jpgMycol Beckett (police photo) 

    Mycol Beckett is charged with murder and firearms possession charges for the Saturday, Sept. 1 shooting death of Eric Rue, the Mercer County Prosecutor's Office announced.

    Police found Rue, 34 of Bensalem, Pennsylvania, at about 8 a.m. in his car at the corner of Morris and Commonwealth avenues. He'd been shot multiple times and died a short time later at a hospital in the city.

    The prosecutor's office's Homicide Task Force, led by Detective Scott Rich, linked Beckett to the crime pretty quickly and issued warrants for his arrest on Monday.

    Trenton Police located him early Thursday in the city during a traffic stop, the prosecutor's office said.

    The office did not divulge a motive for the crime.

    After 10 shot in weekend of violence, mayor says 'We need more cops'

    Beckett is known to authorities in the city.

    One of the charges in this killing is possessing a firearm as a convicted felon, and records show they are from convictions in 2014 for burglary and 2011 for drug dealing.

    Beckett was charged with shooting a teen last year in Trenton, a case that is pending. Police alleged in August that Beckett was the gunman who shot a 17-year-old boy in both legs in July 2017 on Fairway Drive.

    And in June 2017, he was arrested on felony drug dealing charges related to a drug operation on Summer Street.

    Following his arrest, Beckett was taken to the Mercer County jail pending a detention hearing in Superior Court.

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

     

     


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    Trenton is in a 0-2 hole, after the Fisher Cats swept their two home games in the EL Division Series.

    When the Thunder left for New Hampshire Tuesday, the day after the Eastern League regular season ended, they had dreams of making a third straight Eastern League Championship Series.

    Now, they will come home Friday to Arm & Hammer just looking to survive for another night.

    Trenton is in a 0-2 hole, after the Fisher Cats swept their two home games in the EL Division Series. The Thunder were outscored 18-4 (8-0 game one, 10-4 game two) in the two games by the prolific New Hampshire offense, which has carried the Fisher Cats to the brink of the ELCS.

    Led by league MVP Cavan Biggio (2-for-6, four RBI), league batting champion Harold Ramirez (5-for-8), and Bo Bichette (5-for-8), the top of the New Hampshire lineup has terrorized the Thunder pitching staff.

    Thunder manager Jay Bell knew before the series that those were the players Trenton had to keep quiet, in order to have a chance in the series. But so far, it has not worked out.

    "Through that lineup, there are some guys that can do some damage," Bell said. "There is no doubt that Bo is probably the guy that you contain. Cavan has done a fantastic job.

    "But there are guys all through that lineup that do a great job. Max Pentecost, (Connor) Panas, Ramirez has been really good this year. (Juan) Kelly is a guy you have to pay attention to. He has had some good at-bats, and done some things."

    Yankees top prospects Deivi Garcia and Albert Abreu shine for Thunder

    Wednesday night in game one, Trenton had the same amount of hits (nine) as the Fisher Cats, but could not string them together to plate any runners. Kyle Holder went 3-for-3 in the fifth spot in the order, Jorge Saez was 2-for-4 in the eighth spot, and Angel Aguilar was 3-for-4 in the ninth spot. But the rest of the order went 1-for-22.

    In game two, the Thunder had the lead after one batter, as Gosuke Katoh led off the contest with a home run. But Thunder starter Nick Green could not get out of the second inning: he allowed three runs in the bottom of the first, and two more in the second, as New Hampshire took a 5-1 lead.

    Trenton cut the lead to 5-3 in the fourth, after Holder singled, and came home on Dom Thompson-Williams' two-run home run. But that was as close as the Thunder got. New Hampshire scored two runs in the sixth to make it 7-3, and three more in the eighth, to pad the lead to seven runs.

    Friday night at 7 p.m., Nick Nelson will take the mound for Trenton, looking to keep his team in the series for another night. Jordan Romano will try to pitch the Fisher Cats into the championship series.

    * In the Western Division series, the division champions Altoona Curve (Pittsburgh Pirates) are in the same position as Trenton, also a division champion.

    Akron (Cleveland Indians) takes a 2-0 lead in the series to Altoona for game three, after a 5-2 win in game one, and a 2-1 win in 10 innings in game two.

    So both division champions, which are supposed to be rewarded in the playoffs, now come home and have to win game three just to stay in the playoffs. They also have to sweep three in a row to advance to the ELCS.

    That does not seem like much of an advantage.

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


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    The ramp to I-295 south from I-195 and 29 east will be closed until the emergency repairs are finished

    Emergency repairs will force commuters leaving Trenton on Friday afternoon to take a round-about path to reach Interstate 295 south, officials said. 

    The ramp from Route 29/Interstate 195 east to I-295 south had to be closed to perform work on a bridge pier, the state Department of Transportation said Friday afternoon.

    10 road projects that will complicate N.J. life in 2018

    Drivers who want to access 295 south from the Trenton area will need to continue east on 195, exit at Route 206 and reverse course on 195 west, where they can take the exit for I-295 south. 

    Additional congestion is expected as a result of the detour. 

    An inspection found severe concrete deterioration and exposed rebar, the DOT said. The DOT said crews will work around the clock until the repairs are done. Officials didn't offer a timetable on how long it will take to fix the road. 

    Electronic signs will also alert drivers of the detour. 

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

     

     

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    Cedrick Hodges was paroled from state prison 3 months before he was arrested

    The gunman police say terrorized a Hamilton neighborhood last year by going on a carjacking spree that wounded two people has been indicted on eight federal crimes, records show.

    The federal government took over the prosecution of Cedrick Hodges sometime this year, charging him with one carjacking. On Thursday, a grand jury indicted him on eight federal felonies.

    hodges.jpgHodges, NJ prison photo. 

    Court documents in the case allege he tried to carjack three vehicles while brandishing a sawed-off, 12-gauge shotgun.

    Hodges, 35, had been paroled from state prison in September 2017 after serving about 13 years of a 20-year state prison term for another crime spree in Mercer County.

    That prior one, in 2000, was for raping two women and committing a string of robberies over an eight-day period. 

    On Dec. 16, 2017, police said a day after the crimes, Hodges shot two men in three carjackings in the 2300 block of South Broad Street and on surrounding neighborhood streets.

    The federal case against him provides some additional details.

    In the first confrontation, Hodges approached a woman who was parking her car and screamed, "get me out of here, get me out of here!" and jumped in the back seat. The woman ran from the car, leaving the key in the ignition and called for help, documents allege.

    Hodges fired toward her direction, and police had said he'd shot at the woman's husband, too, as he came to her aid.

    Moments later, on Lafayette Avenue, Hodges allegedly confronted two people in a car and pointed the gun at the driver and said, "get out the car."

    The driver refused with a simple "no" and started to drive away. Hodges then fired into the car's driver-side window, wounding the man, who police said was 67 years old.

    A few moments later, Hodges found a man unlocking his parked vehicle and said, "give me your keys." That man also said "no" and Hodges shot him in the arm, causing the man to cry out, "murder, murder, murder!"

    Hodges ran and the victim saw him chuck the shotgun over a fence, where Hamilton police found it, between Lafayette and Harrison avenues. 

    Officers arrested Hodges at the corner of Genesee and Lily streets after following his footprints - it had snowed the day before. The federal charges say cops found 18 unspent shotgun shells in his pockets.

    Hodges is charged with three counts of carjacking, three counts of using a firearm in an act of violence, possession of an unregistered firearm and possessing as a convicted felon.

    He's currently back in the New Jersey prison system, serving time off his first sentence.

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

     

     


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    New Jersey is leading where the federal government is failing to protect the public from toxic chemicals tainting our drinking water.

    New Jersey is leading where the federal government is failing to protect the public from toxic chemicals tainting our drinking water.

    New Jersey became the first state to set limits on how much of a dangerous compound known as PFNA (perfluorononanoic acid) is allowed in our drinking water.

    Starting in 2019, the amended Safe Drinking Water Act will set the maximum level of PFNAs in drinking water to be no more than 13 parts per trillion.

    Most people may be familiar with PFNAs as the non-stick coating used on cookware. The man-made material is part of a group of chemicals known as pre- and polyfluoroalkyl substances, or PFAS for short. These chemicals have been used since the 1950s to make many other products such as fire-fighting foam, stain-resistant clothing, food packaging, some cosmetics and products that resist grease, water and oil.

    Studies have shown that PFAS can affect growth and learning in infants and older children, lower a woman's chance of getting pregnant, interfere with the body's natural hormones, increase cholesterol levels, affect the immune system and increase the risk of cancer, according to the Agency for Toxic Substances and Disease Registry.

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    Today, PFNAs are no longer used in manufacturing, but their toxic legacy remains. These compounds can travel long distances, move through soil, seep into groundwater or be carried through the air, the registry says.

    Locally, these chemicals were detected in the Delaware River watershed in Gloucester County in 2010, according to the Delaware Riverkeeper Network.

    Earlier this year, the state Department of Environmental Protection issued advisories warning that fish caught in six counties had unsafe levels of PFAS. One of the advisories cited largemouth bass at Little Pine Lake in Pemberton and cautioned against eating no more than one per year.

    These substances have been a particular scourge for people living near military air bases where PFAS-laced foams used to fight fires have seeped into the ground water.

    Despite the known dangers of these alphabet-numbing group of chemicals, the federal government has not set any safety standards for them in our drinking water.

    According to a Politico report earlier this year, the Trump administration attempted to stop publication of a study into PFAS-contaminated ground water near military bases nationwide, saying it would cause a "public relations nightmare."

    Contamination from these types of chemicals is obviously a national problem. For the federal government, particularly the Environmental Protection Agency, to not address this issue head-on is unforgivable and a dereliction of its responsibility to look out for the health of its citizens.

    Thankfully, New Jersey has decided to act while Washington turns a blind eye to the problem. Other states would be wise to follow New Jersey's lead.

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

     

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    Shade Cooper is a former Air Force police officer. She could be free in 8 1/2 years

    A one-time U.S. Air Force police officer is going to prison or 10 years for causing the deaths of her estranged husband and a woman he was with while chasing after their car in Burlington County in 2015.

    Following a December 2015 visit with their children at Shade Cooper's home on Joint Base McGuire-Di-Lakehurst, Nicholas Cooper was picked up by another woman, Jocelyn Redding.

    Shade Cooper.jpgShade Cooper 

    An angry Shade Cooper set off after the pair and chased them for 10 miles, once striking their car, before Redding, who was at the wheel, lost control at a curve near Route 545 and Clifton Mills Road in Bordentown Township.

    They crashed into an oncoming pickup truck, which sent the car into a wooded area.

    Redding, 23, and Nicholas Cooper, 26, both of Hamilton, died in the wreck.

    In June, a jury convicted Shade Cooper of two counts of second-degree reckless manslaughter.

    A Burlington County judge gave Shade Cooper, 28 - whose permanent address was East Granby, Connecticut - 10 years, with a minimum of 8 1/2 years before being eligible for parolee.

    "This is a tragic case, made even worse by the fact that it was entirely avoidable," Burlington County Prosecutor Scott Coffina said. "Actions taken in anger often result in disastrous outcomes, like what happened here.

    "There is no sentence remotely comparable to the profound loss of these two families, but hopefully they will find some comfort from today's proceeding," the prosecutor said.

    "Excellent work by all involved, our hearts continue to ache for the families affected by this senseless tragedy," Bordentown Township police said in a Facebook post Friday evening. They investigated the crash with county authorities.

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


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    It is the third year in a row that the Thunder's season ended with a series sweep, and maybe the most surprising.

    With the weather forecast for Sunday looking grim, the Thunder, and the Eastern League, did everything possible Friday night to play game three of the Eastern Division series.

    As it turned out, the rest of the weekend will not be needed.

    New Hampshire beat the Thunder 5-1, to sweep the division series three games to zero. The game, which did not start until 10:58 p.m. after a three hour and 58 minute rain delay, and the 2018 Trenton season finished at 1:32 a.m.  

    It is the third year in a row that the Thunder's season ended with a series sweep, and maybe the most surprising, after they came into the playoffs on the back of winning 10 of 11.

    New Hampshire took an early lead for the third straight game and never looked back. The Fisher Cats will now wait to see who their opponent in the EL Championship Series will be. Akron leads Altoona two games to one in the Western Division series.

    Thunder manager Jay Bell spoke after the loss, and said that it came down to New Hampshire getting base hits in clutch spots.

    "I was really hoping to force games four and maybe five," Bell said. "But we just couldn't get the big hit, and they did. Cavan (Biggio, the 2018 EL MVP) had a really nice series. (Harold) Ramirez (the EL batting champion) swung it pretty well. Max Pentecost swung it well.

    "They have got a really good team. It was a tough task. Unfortunately, their pitchers did pretty well too. If you look at the series, they were in a position of power virtually the whole series. So they were able to do some things offensively on the bases, and with their pitching staff, that we weren't able to do.

    "We put a lot of pressure on their pitchers, but couldn't quite get that big hit. It wasn't for a lack of preparation or desire, it was just the fact that their pitchers made some pitches whenever they needed to make pitches."

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    Gosuke Katoh (3-for-13 in the series) had the lone RBI Friday night, which was one of just five runs the Thunder scored in the three games. New Hampshire ended up outscoring Trenton 23-5.

    "We had a really good season," Katoh said. "We had the best record in the Eastern League, but we just came up short. The playoffs is a totally different animal than the regular season. They played really good baseball, and it just went their way.

    "Crucial errors, or walks, or not taking advantage of runners in scoring position, that definitely magnifies everything. That is just how baseball is sometimes. They just hit timely, and we didn't."

    Trenton won its second straight Eastern Division title in 2018, and made the playoffs for the 13th time in the 2-year history of the organization.

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


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    Johnny Bobbitt is suing a Burlington County couple in civil court, alleging they mismanaged money donated to help him.


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