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Central Jersey News from the Times of Trenton

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    After he was arrested, the suspect told federal agents about more drugs in his apartment

    A man faces multiple federal drug crimes for quantities of heroin and a chemical used to make fentanyl that authorities found in Mercer County, and at his apartment in Spring Valley, New York.

    David Valle Campos, 45, appeared in federal court in Trenton Tuesday and was detained without bail, the U.S. Attorney's Office in New Jersey announced. He's charged with possessing with intent to distribute heroin and 4-anilino-n-phenethyl-4-piperidine (ANPP), a controlled substance used to make fentanyl.

    Federal customs agents arrested Campos Monday at the Hamilton Marketplace shopping center off Route 130 after receiving a tip from a law enforcement source that a man would be there and have either fentanyl or heroin, or both, for sale.

    Agents set up a surveillance and say Campos arrived at 12 p.m. as their source said he would, and was driving a minivan with the license plate that tipster provided, authorities said.

    They pulled him over after watching him talk to another man. Campos was cooperative.

    In the criminal complaint against him, an agent wrote that Campos gave them permission to search the vehicle, and they found two cylindrical packages inside a brown paper bag on the center console.

    The substance later tested positive for ANPP and weighed 1.2 kilograms.

    While in custody, Campos gave a voluntary statement to agents in which he told them he had more packages stored in his apartment which he thought were drugs, the complaint says.

    He gave agents his address, verbal and written consent to search it and also handed over his keys. Agents then went to Spring Valley, in Rockland County just north of Bergen County, New Jersey.

    There, they found six more cylinders tightly wrapped in light brown tape, which they tested and found to contain heroin that weighed 2.1 kilograms, the complaint says.

    The U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement's (ICE) Homeland Security Investigations unit in Cherry Hill continues to investigate Campos.

    In June, the same agency, also acting on a tip from a source, arrested two California men at the shopping center and seized 51 pounds of methamphetamine and 20 pounds of heroin.

    Kevin Shea may be reached at Follow him on Twitter @kevintshea. Find on Facebook.


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    Lights ... camera ... what exit?

    During a sports broadcast last week, Walt Disney Studios released a trailer for its release of "Aladdin" ... in the summer of 2019. I understand this is a live-action version, but didn't they release the animated version in right after I got married (1992)?

    I'm hearing excellent reviews for "A Star is Born" starring Lady Gaga and Bradley Cooper ... but wasn't the Barbra Streisand/Kris Kristofferson version released when I was in high school (1976)?

    Remakes are certainly nothing new in Hollywood. Go to the Wikipedia page for 'List of Film Remakes' and prepare to sprain your index finger scrolling. It's split into two lists actually, because there are simply so many.

    MORE: Vintage photos around New Jersey

    But even though some of the films in this gallery scored ... quite low on, I still watch/watched them, because they're original. Some fall into the 'so bad it's good' designation, while others really ARE good but simply got overlooked.

    New Jersey has hosted film crews for some truly outstanding classics, like "On the Waterfront," and some ... others. The movie industry was BORN in New Jersey, beginning with Thomas Edison and moving to the cliffhangers that were actually filmed on and over the cliffs around Fort Lee and Palisades Park. Even though major studios no longer call the state home, they regularly returned to their roots for the unique scenery that is New Jersey.

    Here's a gallery of films that were made, all or in part, in New Jersey. If you think of one that might be missing, check this previous gallery for more.

    Vintage photos of movies filmed in N.J.

    And here are some other galleries you may enjoy:

    Vintage photos of famous people seen in N.J.

    Vintage photos of famous folks from N.J.

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

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    In a letter to New Jersey Gov. Phil Murphy, 19 religious leaders condemn what they call the "critical reality" of income inequality.

    Advocates for a higher minimum wage have a welcome and powerful new ally.

    In a letter to Gov. Phil Murphy and top members of the Legislature, 19 of the state's religious leaders condemn what they call the "critical reality" of income inequality in the state they minister to.

    Presbyterians, Catholics, Muslims, Jews, Unitarians - the men and women of God raised their collective voices to lament "the widening gap between those who are benefiting from New Jersey's growing economy and those whose wages have not kept up with the high cost of living in this state."

    A Fairleigh Dickinson University poll released last week found that three-quarters of the Garden State's adults favor a raise in minimum pay - results consistent with the last time the question was asked in 2016.

    On the national front, Amazon announced plans to hike its minimum hourly rate next month to $15 an hour. It was an early Christmas gift that will make life considerably easier for the retail giant's 250,000 employees and its expected 100,000 seasonal workers.

    Here's what N.J. thinks about raising the minimum wage

    Meanwhile, the minimum wage here in the Garden State will rise 3 percent starting on the first of the new year, as dictated by a state constitutional amendment, approved by voters in 2013, which raised the minimum wage from $7.25 an hour to $8.25 an hour, and tied future increases to inflation.

    As we ring in 2019, the minimum hourly rate will rise to $8.85, which comes to $18,408 a year. That's considerably below the $25,100 poverty line the federal government established for a family of four in 2018.

    The is particularly cruel in New Jersey, where the average cost of renting an apartment is $1,800 a month, and the average house will set you back half a million, according to CNBC.

    "New Jersey's minimum wage, adjusted for cost of living, is the fifth-most insufficient in the nation," the governor tweeted last month. That, he added, is indefensible.

    The religious leaders agree. In their letter to the lawmakers, they note that while change is coming, its pace is slow and its benefits unevenly distributed.

    In particular, they worry about the issue of "carve-outs," which is driving the heated debate on a minimum-wage hike in Trenton and which would exclude some sectors of the population, such as agricultural workers and employees who depend largely on tips.

    "The majority of these workers are persons of color and women," the clerics wrote - "hardworking New Jerseyans who struggle to raise their families with the current system."

    Their concern is valid.

    Mandating a livable working wage is a humane issue, not a political one.

    Lawmakers need to work through their differences so all state residents can afford to put food on their table and keep a roof over their heads.

    Bookmark Follow on Twitter @NJ_Opinion and find Opinion on Facebook.

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    Look at the top freshmen in the state and cast your vote for the best of the best.

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    He was hit Wednesday night along Route 129

    A pedestrian struck by a vehicle Wednesday night along Route 129 in Trenton is in "extremely critical condition," authorities said. 

    The man, who police have not been able to identify, was hit near the intersection of Cass Street and Route 129 at 9:35 p.m, Lt. Peter Szpakowski said Thursday.

    The driver stayed at the scene, police said. Police said the motorist was not speeding, either. 

    The man is the second pedestrian struck by a vehicle in Mercer County in as many days. On Tuesday night, a 14-year-old Plainsboro boy suffered serious injuries when he was struck by a car on Clarksville Road in West Windsor.

    His injuries are not considered life-threatening. 

    Jeff Goldman may be reached at Follow him on Twitter @JeffSGoldman. Find on Faceboo


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    The woman alleged it happened during a massage last month

    A massage therapist in Pennington was arrested and charged recently with sex crimes after a woman alleged he assaulted her during a massage, the Mercer County Prosecutor's Office said. 

    Asmar Berry .jpgAsmar Berry (Police photo) 

    The woman alleges she was getting a massage from Asmar Berry, 40, of Clementon, at Renewed Spa Massage on Route 31 in Pennington in September when he "touched the intimate parts" of her without her consent, the Mercer County Prosecutors Office said.

    Berry has since been charged with one count of second-degree sexual assault and one count of fourth-degree criminal sexual contact. 

    He was charged on a summons and then released, pending a court date, the office said.

    Renewed Spa Massage declined to comment when reached by phone Thursday. 

    The investigation is ongoing, and anyone with information on the case is asked to reach out to Detective Karen Mendez of the county's Special Victims Unit at 609-989-6568.

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


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    The donor renamed North Hall at the campus in Lawrence Watch video

    When one donates a large chunk of money to their alma mater, they often are given their choice of naming a building or area on campus.

    And sometimes, it's the future building they are funding.

    Thomas J. Lynch got that opportunity when he donated $5.5 million to Rider University in Lawrence. Lynch, a business executive and Rider trustee, graduated in 1975.

    But he decided to put his college buddy Joseph Adler's name on the building with his too, for his time at Rider is so tied to his now lifelong friend, also a '75 graduate.

    And he did not tell him.

    Adler was with Lynch Wednesday evening in front of North Hall when a drape was removed to show the name, Lynch Adler Hall - a surprise for Adler and many in the university community.

    "There are so many moments in my life that I attribute to Joe Adler," Lynch said in a statement. "It seemed natural that if I was going to do something like this, he had to be a part of it. None of this would have happened without him."

    Rider alum names new building for lifelong friendRider alum Joseph Adler (right) reacts and embraces lifelong friend Thomas Lynch at the unveiling of the newly-named Lynch Adler Hall Wed. Oct. 17, 2018. (Michael Mancuso | NJ Advance Media)

    The two have been friends since grade school, and Lynch followed Adler to the campus in the early 1970s.

    "Coming to Rider wasn't a very strategic decision on my part," Lynch said. "When my best friend, Joe Adler, decided to go to Rider, it sounded good to me, so I decided to go to Rider." 

    Both men spent years as business executives.

    Lynch served as CEO of TE Connectivity from 2006 to 2017, and is currently the executive chairman of their board. The company has 75,000 employees and $12 billion in annual sales. He's on his second stint as a Ride trustee as well.

    Adler also earned his Master's of Business from Rider, in 1990, and worked for more than 30 years in the food industry, recently retiring from Pinnacle Foods, makers of Birds Eye vegetables and Duncan Hines baking mixes.

    Kevin Shea may be reached at Follow him on Twitter @kevintshea. Find on Facebook.

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    After a judge ruled to release him Wednesday, the prosecutors office immediately filed an appeal to get him back in jail

    The Mercer County Prosecutor's Office has filed an emergency appeal of a judge's decision to release a man accused of trying to lure a 5-year-old girl earlier this month, the office said Thursday.

    maglione.jpgDarren Maglione (Police photo) 

    On Wednesday, Superior Court Judge Anthony Massi ruled to release Darren Maglione, 47, of Robbinsville - with conditions, like a location-tracking ankle bracelet and a curfew.

    That evening, the prosecutor's office said on Thursday, prosecutors on the case filed an emergent application with the Appellate Division to appeal the judge's decision. 

    That application was granted, and an appellate court will hear the prosecutor's office's arguments on keeping Maglione jailed pending trial.

    Maglione will be released Thursday, pending the Appellate Court's decision. He will be fitted with an ankle monitor and will adhere to Massi's conditions until a decision can be made on the appeal, officials said.

    Maglione's attorney Robin Lord said by email that "their appeal is frivolous."

    Briefs from prosecutors and Maglione's defense are due tomorrow.

    The prosecutor's office said there's no way to know how long a decision may take.

    Maglione was arrested Oct. 12 for allegedly approaching a 5-year-old girl a few days prior in Trenton. He was driving a black Porsche in the Prospect Village apartments, and police say he told the the girl to "hop in the car" three times.

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


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    He pulled himself out of the sinking car and fled, telling bystanders, 'Help my girlfriend.' Watch video

    Standing in a courtroom in an orange jumpsuit, a pile of tear-filled tissues on the table in front of him, Jacob Garrett said he wanted to explain what happened the January day he drunkenly crashed his car into the freezing Delaware River and fled, leaving his "soulmate" in the car to drown.

    He spoke for 10 minutes at his sentencing hearing Thursday in Burlington County Superior Court, describing how his late girlfriend, Stephanie White, 23, made him strive to be a better man, and how he can't believe that the alcohol clouded his judgment to the point that he fled the sinking car while White was trapped inside.

    "If I was sober, I would've died there with her," the 25-year-old said.

    "I would've held her and we would have died together, but she would've been safe, she would've been, she wouldn't have died in fear," he said, wiping away tears. "That's the thing that kills me... she died in fear. If I could've just died there, I would've been good, I would've been all right."

    Instead, Garrett climbed up the river wall, told bystanders, "Help my girlfriend," and fled on a RiverLine train until he was tracked down by a police K-9. When his blood alcohol content was tested four hours later, it was still more than twice the legal limit. 

    Judge Terrence Cook sentenced Garrett, of Burlington City, to 15 years in prison. Garrett pleaded guilty in July to first-degree vehicular homicide and second-degree leaving the scene of a fatal accident.

    jacob-garrett-stephanie-white.jpgAt left, Jacob Garrett breaks down at his Jan. 23, 2018 detention hearing. At right, Stephanie White, 23.  

    The lengthy sentencing hearing was remarkable not just for Garrett's speech, but for the compassion that White's family showed him as they addressed the judge. They described the immeasurable loss of White and knowing she will never get to be married or start a family, but also said that they didn't hate Garrett.

    White's mother, Ina White, and uncle, Terrence White, said they cared less about the length of the sentence and more about him getting counseling and rehabilitation so he can come to terms with what he has done and lead a better life.

    "My only wish for Jacob is not so much time, it's help, assistance, guidance, understanding," Ina White said as she addressed the judge Thursday, while Garrett hung his head. "And that he feels what it is I'm going through. He knows me."

    Nicknamed "Birdy" by her family, Stephanie White grew up in Freehold, graduated from Freehold Borough High School and worked at a FedEx shipping center in Hamilton.

    Her family said she was a smart, soft-spoken, and a "good girl" who didn't party or get into trouble. She helped her mother raise her foster kids and helped any family member or friend in need.

    'She hadn't even started her life,' mom of woman killed in river crash says

    Garrett admitted that when they met, he was making bad decisions and had a criminal record, but White pushed him to shape up and get a better job. "She changed my life, she showed me I could do better," he said. They were planning to get married, he said.

    He said he started drinking the night before the crash, and felt that he was "out of control."

    On Sunday morning, she texted him that she wanted to cook him dinner, and they got together and he started drinking. "I don't know what exactly made me drink that day. What made me want to drink," he said. 

    They were speeding back from the store that afternoon when Garrett decided to pass a car on the right, driving through empty parking spaces. He said he doesn't even remember striking a parked car moments later, but his car flew over the river wall and he was knocked unconscious.

    city-river-crashjpg-6f4de2c7dcf4c379.JPGEmergency responders at the crash scene on Sunday, Jan. 14, 2018. (Submitted photo) 

    "When I woke up the water was up to here," he said, motioning to the middle of his chest. Garrett said he was trying to pull White out, but he didn't realize she was still restrained by her seatbelt and the water was getting higher. He knew she couldn't swim.

    "Next thing I know, it was pitch dark," he said, as the car sank into the water. "I'm not gonna lie. I jumped out of the car."

    While addressing the judge, White's mother had said her last remaining question was why Garrett chose to flee in that moment.

    In answering, he recalled the moment he got to the top of the river wall, and his last hope -- that White had somehow gotten out of the car -- slipped away.

    "I was just scared. I knew I couldn't jump back in and I wasn't, at that time, I wasn't going to stand there and face that," he said. "I didn't leave because I was scared of the consequences. I left because there was no way in hell I could accept it."

    Garrett said at one point he wanted White's mother's forgiveness, but knew that his "sorry" wasn't enough. "

    "Sorry isn't the word for it," he said. "But I just wish I could've died with her."

    'Get me outta here!' Man accused of leaving lover to die cries in court

    Earlier, Ina White had told Judge Cook that her daughter was also her best friend. Garrett wept as she said that his "stupid" decision has left her with a void in her life that will never go away.

    "As much as I want my daughter here, in the physical sense with me, I do know that she's OK," Ina White said. She said the only way she gets through the loss is through her faith.

    "Although she's gone, she's not taken from me," Ina White said, a little smile emerging on her face. She tapped her chest, over her heart. "She's here. ... She'll always be here."

    White's aunt, Roselle White, recalled her niece as a respectful, loving woman whom she never had to worry about.

    "The day I lost my niece, I lost the ability to ever be fully happy. There isn't a day that goes by that my heart doesn't ache," she said with emotion.

    "She had so much life left to live. She will never have a chance to become the woman I knew she would be," Roselle White said. "Her laugh and her words are gone forever, and nothing can ever change that."

    Two friends of Garrett told the judge they were glad he was taking responsibility for what he did and that they knew him as a man who was always ready to help a friend. Laquin Carter said Garrett stood up for him when he was being harassed for being gay, and may have saved his life. Khadejah Randolph said Garrett was like a father to her and helped her care for her family.

    Judge Cook said he believed Garrett was remorseful and acknowledged the "amazing level of grace and compassion" White's family showed him in the courtroom.

    "I didn't know Stephanie, but if you are a reflection of who she was, then I know that she was a tremendous young lady, and you have my condolences on her loss," Cook told the family. "My sentence today will not reflect the value of her life to you."

    Rebecca Everett may be reached at Follow her on Twitter @rebeccajeverett. Find on Facebook.

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    The branch was held up earlier this month

    Trenton police on Thursday made public surveillance photos of a man they believe robbed the PNC Bank branch on Lalor Street earlier this month.

    Police described the man as tall with a thin build.

    In the photos, he wears a black cap, black shirt with white shirt underneath. In his left hand appears to be a white piece of paper.

    Trenton police said the robber walked into the branch in the Lalor Plaza shopping center at about 8:35 a.m. Oct. 5 and handed an employee a note that demanded cash.

    The man threatened that he had a gun, but no employees saw one. After leaving the bank with cash, he was last seen on foot heading south across Lalor Street.

    Anyone with information about the man or the crime can contact Detective John Avanzato at 609-989-4146 or any on-duty detective at 609-989-4155.

    Kevin Shea may be reached at Follow him on Twitter @kevintshea. Find on Facebook.

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    Drug transactions involved half pound of cocaine, according to authorities.

    A 37-year-old man was sentenced Thursday to 30 years in state prison for peddling half a pound of cocaine in Trenton.

    Marcus-Covington.jpgMarcus Covington (OAG) 

    Marcus Covington faces 15 years behind bars without being eligible for parole after a Mercer County jury convicted him on various drug crimes, including first-degree distribution of cocaine, according to the state Attorney General's Office.

    "While the opioid epidemic has rightly focused law enforcement attention on heroin, fentanyl and opioid pain pills, we have not lost sight of the fact that cocaine is involved in hundreds of overdose deaths in New Jersey each year and fuels the gun violence that surrounds street-level drug dealing," state Attorney General Gurbir Grewal said in a statement.

    At trial, prosecutors presented evidence showing Covington conducted 10 cocaine transactions in the state's capital city between Feb. 10 and June 15, 2016, officials said. Those sales involved about 224 grams of the drug.

    Covington was also convicted of selling cocaine near a public housing project and school.

    "By selling cocaine near schools and residential homes, Covington put law-abiding citizens and their children in danger of the gun violence that goes hand-in-hand with drug dealing," said Col. Patrick Callahan, superintendent of the New Jersey State Police, which investigated the case.

    A co-conspirator, Wayne Meyers, 36, of Trenton, previously pleaded guilty to second-degree cocaine distribution in the case. He was sentenced in June to a seven years and two month state prison term.

    Noah Cohen may be reached at Follow him on Twitter @noahycFind on Facebook.

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    The teen punched a cop and spit at another, police allege

    A 15-year-old Hopewell Valley High School student assaulted multiple school employees Thursday and then fought with responding police officers, Hopewell Township police said.

    The teen will face multiple counts of felony aggravated assault for the incidents, police said later Thursday. The boy was in police custody Thursday evening.

    The police department said they were called to the school at about 1:45 p.m. for a report that a student had assaulted employees. 

    While inside the school, officers confirmed they had victims of an assault, and went to arrest the teen, police said in a statement.

    As officers attempted to arrest him, the teen resisted and punched Officer Brian Dendis in the face and spit at Sgt. James Rosso. The boy spit at school staffers too.

    Dendis had a minor injury following the altercation, police said.

    The police department did not immediately elaborate on what may have caused the initial assaults.

    During the incident, the high school went into a temporary building "freeze," police said.

    Lesser than a lockdown, a building freeze allows classes to continue as usual, but movement in school hallways is restricted.

    Kevin Shea may be reached at Follow him on Twitter @kevintshea. Find on Facebook.


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    Shaheed Brown has been jailed for 4 years, and a 3rd jury recently decided they couldn't agree on a verdict

    Three juries haven't been able to make up their mind about Shaheed Brown, the alleged killer of 20-year-old Enrico Smalley Jr. in 2014.

    His third trial ended last Thursday, with another hung jury -- and now the Mercer County Prosecutor's Office is deciding how to proceed.

    shaheed-brown--71231865a7cc2ace.pngShaheed Brown (Police photo) 

    Prosecutors allege that Brown, 34, from Trenton, shot Smalley to death outside an East Trenton bar in July 2014 and absconded to Newark.

    Authorities found him there a month later, and he's been jailed ever since.

    He's now been through three trials, one in October 2015, one in May 2016 and the one ending last week.

    Prosecutor's office spokesperson Casey DeBlasio said that the office is unsure of what its next step will be.

    "The office is evaluating the options," she said.

    2 mistrials for Trenton murder case in less than a year

    But his lawyer, Edward Harrington Heyburn, told NJ Advance Media this week that Brown's been in jail for far too long.

    Heyburn has represented Brown in all three trials and has since filed a motion to dismiss Brown's indictment, which would essentially end his case.

    "For four years he's been incarcerated," Heyburn said. "His kids, who were a few months old when he went in, they've grown up without him."

    Heyburn said there's no legal justification for trying someone a fourth time, and in his research, he had a hard time finding many cases where someone was even tried a third.

    "The (Mercer County Prosecutor's Office) has a significant history of prosecuting people again and again," he said. "And our complaint has been that they never put the work in to see who committed the crime, and ignore the exculpatory process."

    The prosecutor's office has 10 days to respond to Heyburn's motion, which he filed on Oct. 11.

    Brown will remain in Mercer County jail until a decision is made.

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

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    Mercer County Prosecutor Angelo Onofri estimated the street value of the drugs at about $34,000.

    A drug investigation by Mercer County's narcotics task force led detectives to a Hamilton man's apartment, where they found heroin, cocaine and two handguns.

    Task force officers raided Nnanna Akuma's Norman Court home on Tuesday evening and arrested him inside, the Mercer County Prosecutor's Office said. The unit had been investigating the 26-year-old for a month.

    Nnanna Akuma.jpgNnanna Akuma 

    During a court-authorized search, task force officers found 12 bricks of heroin, 32 grams of raw heroin, 110 grams of powder cocaine, 46 grams of crack cocaine and two 9-millimeter handguns, the office said. They also found $5,740 in cash.

    A search of Akuma himself led to another 50 grams of raw heroin he'd hidden behind his testicles, the office said.

    Mercer County Prosecutor Angelo Onofri estimated the street value of the drugs at about $34,000. Akuma is charged with multiple drug and firearm possession charges.

    The prosecutor's office has filed a motion to detain Akuma pending trial.

    The county narcotics task force currently comprises officers from the prosecutor's Special Investigations Unit, and officers from the Hamilton, Princeton and Trenton police departments.

    Kevin Shea may be reached at Follow him on Twitter @kevintshea. Find on Facebook.


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    The coupled died Tuesday night in the Burlington County blaze

    Authorities have charged a Burlington County man with arson and manslaughter for starting a ferocious house fire in Pemberton Township that killed his elderly mother and her companion Tuesday night.

    Kurt Smith, 59, was in the garage of the Browns Mills home with two other people around 8:30 p.m. when he "acted in a reckless manner and ignited flammable material with a cigarette lighter," according to a statement from the Burlington County Prosecutor's Office.

    Kurt Smith.jpgKurt Smith (Burlington County Prosecutor's Office) 

    Smith, who lived in the home with his mother on the 500 block of Willow Boulevard, tried unsuccessfully to extinguish the blaze, which spread quickly once the garage door was opened, authorities said.

    The two people with Smith in the garage were not injured.

    Lore Smith, 92, was pronounced dead at a nearby hospital, while her companion, George Pikunis, also 92, was pronounced dead at the scene.

    The cause of death for both was smoke and soot inhalation, along with thermal burns, officials said.

    Kurt Smith was flown to Temple University Hospital in Philadelphia and treated for smoke inhalation. He was served at the hospital with charges including two counts of first-degree aggravated manslaughter, and one count of arson.

    Once he is released from the hospital, Philadelphia Police will take him into custody and extradition procedures will begin to return him to New Jersey, prosecutors said.

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

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    'I loved being the Rabbi at Beth Chaim.'

    Rabbi Eric B. Wisnia, the senior rabbi at Congregation Beth Chaim in West Windsor, will retire early next year after 42 years of service.

    Wisnia recently announced that he plans to resign from leading the congregation on Jan. 31, 2019.

    Wisnia joined Congregation Beth Chaim in 1977, and has led the synagogue through substantial growth, by presiding over more than 4,000 "life cycle" events.

    Rabbi Gala Headshot (4).jpgEric B. Wisnia (Bill Tompkins photo) 

    One of his most recent events was his mother's funeral a few months ago.

    "My congregants were here to support me, just as I have supported them all these years," Wisnia said.

    A powerful voice for religious liberty, he believes: "We are all brothers and sisters, and when any of our rights are diminished, all of our rights are diminished."

    The community heard Wisnia's voice when he advocated for the building of the Muslim Center of Greater Princeton, in West Windsor. This led the mosque to honor him with a Community Service Award in December 2014. 

    He said he supported the building because his religion teaches him that we are our brothers' keepers. "My torah tells me to love the 'stranger," he said.

    It's one of many accolades he's received over the years.

    In September, the Jewish Federation of Princeton Mercer-Bucks also honored Wisnia for his dedicated service to the community.

    Several times, he served as president for Windsor-Hightstown Area Ministerium, where the community's clergy meet to address community issues such as feeding the homeless at the Trenton Area Soup Kitchen and Homefront, and participating in the CROP Hunger Walk with Church World Service.

    Wisnia's service also includes being on the Jewish Committee on Scouting for the Central New Jersey Council Boy Scouts of America.

    His other affiliations include: serving on the Institutional Review Board for Medical Ethics of the Medical Center at Princeton; chairman of the Committee on Religious Ministries at the Medical Center for many years; chairman of the Board of Directors of the Family Service Agency of Princeton; and was active with the New Jersey West Hudson Valley Area Reform Rabbis, where he was president.

    After all this, the rabbi says he is looking forward to life after service.

    He jokes that after retirement he will be a bum, annoy his wife and children, play war games on the computer, and, seriously, is planning write a book that will take a fresh Jewish look at slavery, racism and the Civil War.

    Congregation Beth Chaim will celebrate Wisnia's role in the synagogue and the community by hosting a benefit gala on November 3. Information about tickets and other information is available at

    Follow on Twitter @njdotcom. Find on Facebook.

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    Current and former inmates paint a horrifying pattern of sexual contact and relationships between inmates and officers.

    While the country was riveted to the televised hearings of Supreme Court nominee Brett Kavanaugh's alleged sexual misconduct, an equally chilling scenario was unfolding closer to home.

    Multiple accusations of sexual abuse and exploitation continued to swirl around the Edna Mahan Correctional Facility for Women in Union Township, Hunterdon County, prompting a slew of state and federal investigations, as well as criminal charges against seven people - so far.

    Current and former inmates of the prison paint a horrifying pattern of sexual contact and relationships between inmates and corrections officers - relations labeled a crime under state law because the prisoners cannot consent.

    Now the state Legislature has weighed in with a pair of bills designed to set limits on cross-gender strip searches by prison guards, and to establish reporting requirements for corrections officers in cases of suspected abuse.

    Senator Joe Cryan (D-20th), a former sheriff in Union County, is co-sponsoring the measures with Sen. Linda Greenstein (D-14th).

    Crackdown on sex abuse at N.J. women's prison moves ahead

    The move followed a public hearing by the Senate Law and Public Safety Committee that revealed not only that the abuses were more serious than corrections officers originally let on, but also that the objectionable behavior had continued even after the original complaints were filed.

    One of the proposed bills requires that a strip search, or body-cavity search, of an inmate be conducted by an officer of the same gender who has undergone special training in the procedure; exceptions would be limited to emergency circumstances.

    The other piece of legislation would require any employee who has reasonable cause to suspect that an inmate is being abused (or has been abused) by another prison worker report it.

    Both bills passed the Senate by unanimous vote.

    Previously, the chamber approved bills mandating at least four hours of sexual-abuse training for corrections officers; requiring the state Office of Victim-Witness Advocacy to ensure the rights of female inmates who are victimized; and creating a commission tasked with studying the issue of sexual abuse behind bars and recommend reforms.

    These are welcome reforms. They address the reprehensible abuse of power by the very people whose sworn duty is to protect the law.

    Fans of the enormously popular Netflix series Orange is the New Black are painfully aware of the dangers some women prisoners face at the hands of guards and corrections officers.

    Although the show is based on the experiences of a real-life former inmate, its characters and the prison they've inhabited for six seasons are fictional.

    But the sexual abuse alleged to have taken place behind bars in the Garden State presents us with a very concrete reality. After hearing the inmates' stories, our lawmakers needed to act fast to put a stop to a dehumanizing and loathsome situation.

    Bookmark Follow on Twitter @NJ_Opinion and find Opinion on Facebook.

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    For Manchester City, the Premier League is becoming a playground, as the Citizens boosted their goal difference to plus-23 in a rout of Burnley.

    Play until you score.

    Six minutes of injury time allowed Chelsea to score with the final kick of the match, to deny Jose Mourinho a win at Stamford Bridge.

    For Manchester City, the Premier League is becoming a playground, as the Citizens boosted their goal difference to plus-23 in a rout of Burnley.

    Narrow wins for the other two teams in the top four, Liverpool and Tottenham, have started to put some space between them and the chasing pack.

    Can Arsenal keep pace on Monday?

    With the return of the UEFA Champions League Tuesday and Wednesday, plus the Europa League Thursday, there will be matches every day but Friday this week.

    The next international break is not scheduled until mid-November, then it is all-in for the hectic festive period.


    Chelsea 2-2 Manchester United

    Bournemouth 0-0 Southampton

    Cardiff City 4-2 Fulham

    Manchester City 5-0 Burnley

    Newcastle United 0-1 Brighton

    West Ham United 0-1 Tottenham

    Wolverhampton 0-2 Watford

    Huddersfield Town 0-1 Liverpool


    Etienne Capoue, Watford

    The Hornets continue to impress, and it was Capoue, who scored the first of two Watford goals in 47 seconds, that led the way. He was the Man of the Match with an 8.60 rating.

    Riyad Mahrez, Manchester City

    Had a goal in the 5-0 win over Burnley. Mahrez exerted control down the right channel for the Citizens. He was the Man of the Match with a 9.53 rating.

    Callum Paterson, Cardiff City

    Lone striker got the game-winner in the 65th minute for the Bluebirds, their first win since their return to the Premier League. Paterson was the Man of the Match with an 8.66 rating.

    Premier League Sunday: Top of table clash a dud, London teams impress


    Did Manchester City lose this weekend?

    No, the Citizens rolled to a 5-0 win over Burnley. Five different players scored goals, which is scary considering Kevin De Bruyne is back in the fold.

    Now, they turn their eyes to a massive UEFA Champions League game Tuesday in Ukraine against Shakhtar Donetsk. 


    Six minutes of injury time.

    That is how long Mike Dean added, and Chelsea needed every bit of it to draw 2-2 with Manchester United in the first match back from the international break.

    Anthony Martial's second half brace had given the Red Devils a 2-1 lead, but they could not hold on to that advantage. Ross Barkley's 96th minute equalizer set off a fracas on the touchline between the staffs.

    At the bottom of the table, Cardiff City posted four goals to beat Fulham 4-2, to drop the Cottagers into the relegation zone. The only teams below Fulham in the table are the two winless teams, Huddersfield Town, which fell 1-0 to Liverpool, and Newcastle, which lost 1-0 to Brighton & Hove Albion.


    Everton vs. Crystal Palace, 11 a.m. EDT (NBC Sports and


    Arsenal vs, Leicester City, 3 p.m. EDT (NBC Sports and

    Contact Sean Miller at Follow him on Twitter @TheProdigalSean His weekly podcast, Box to Box Football, can be found on iTunes here

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    An 18-year-old student from Berkeley Heights was taking a train from Temple University to the Trenton station Friday afternoon when she was attacked.

    An 18-year-old student from Berkeley Heights was attacked on SEPTA train coming into the Trenton station Friday afternoon, NJ Transit said Sunday. 

    Alicia Wintemberg, a Temple University Student from Berkeley Heights, said she was taking a train from Philadelphia to Trenton Friday afternoon when a male passenger asked her if the train had arrived at the Trenton station yet.

    Alicia Wintemberg.jpegAlicia Wintemberg said she was attacked on a SEPTA train Friday afternoon.

    "Another passenger said that no, we weren't at Trenton, and then I very politely said we'd be there in about 20 minutes, and the Trenton stop was at the end of the line and he would know when they arrived because everyone would be getting off the train," Wintemberg told NJ Advance Media.

    "And he didn't say 'thank you' or anything to me and he kind of just gave me a look."

    When the train arrived at the Trenton Transit Station and Wintemberg stood up to exit, the male passenger also stood up and punched her in the face, she said. 

    He ran off the train, and two women who were riding the train helped Wintemberg off the train and brought her to station police, she said.

    An NJ Transit spokesperson said Sunday that while it was a SEPTA train that Wintemberg was riding, she sought help from nearby officers who were with NJ Transit. The officers conducted a search of the train station, but did not locate the man. 

    "I was kind of in shock after it happened and I was bleeding a lot from my head and it was all running through my fingers and down my arm," Wintemberg said. 

    The NJ Transit spokesperson said Wintemberg was taken to an area hospital where she was treated. Wintemberg said she received seven stitches. 

    The identity of her attacker is currently unknown, and no arrests have been made. 

    Olivia Rizzo may be reached at Follow her on Twitter @LivRizz. Find on Facebook

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

    Have a tip? Tell us.


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    An officer in Mercer County is facing driving while intoxicated and reckless driving charges

    A Hamilton Township police officer is facing driving while intoxicated and reckless driving charges after he allegedly crashed his car into the front of a bar, the Mercer County Prosecutors Office said. 

    Friday morning at about 1:20 a.m., Hamilton police were called to Bill's Olde Tavern near the intersection of Nottingham Way and Quakerbridge Road in Hamilton Township at the report of a car accident, prosecutors said. 

    There, the office alleges, they found off-duty officer Edward Lugo, who had struck the tavern with his car. He was taken to a local hospital for evaluation. 

    The prosecutor's office said no one besides Lugo was in the car, and no one else was hurt in the crash. 

    Lugo was issued summonses for charges of reckless driving and driving while intoxicated. 

    Lugo's LinkedIn says he has been with the Hamilton Police Department since 2004 and state employee records show he earns about $120,000 per year. 

    Hamilton police did not immediately respond to a request for comment. 

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


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