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Central Jersey News from the Times of Trenton

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    The squad had been suffering financial setbacks for years

    The former chief and operations supervisor at the defunct Morrisville Ambulance Squad in Pennsylvania have been charged with ripping off the organization for years, from using squad money for personal items to insurance fraud.

    Brian M. Eckert, 41, of Falls, Pa. and Ruth "Roxy" Rookstool, 58, of Morrisville, are charged with multiple felony counts of theft, forgery, various computer crimes, criminal conspiracy and misdemeanor insurance fraud, the Bucks County District Attorney's Office announced.

    This summer, the ambulance squad across the river from Trenton announced it was winding down and would cease answering medical calls by Nov. 1 due to ongoing financial problems.

    Capital Health in Trenton is now providing EMS service to Morrisville and a portion of neighboring Falls Township that the squad served.

    The district attorney's office said they started investigating the squad's finances in July after allegations of theft by other squad members.

    Detectives wrote in an affidavit that Eckert, the former chief, and operations supervisor Rookstool basically used the squad as their personal piggy bank from 2011 to 2018.

    Capital Health now providing EMS in Bucks County, Pennsylvania towns

    The two used squad bank account checks and debit cards to make several unauthorized transactions over the years to pay their own personal bills, including paying down Eckert's personal credit card debt.

    Both allegedly authorized using squad money for a squad member's $s,350 honeymoon - a trip Eckert booked as a travel agent and collected a commission.

    The checks, detectives wrote, were signed using a signature stamp bearing the name of the squad's president, who was unaware they were using it.

    In addition to the thefts and Eckert and Rookstool are accused of fraudulently enrolling Rookstool in health and dental insurance paid for by the squad.

    The squad is a combination volunteer and career, or paid members, but Rookstool did not qualify as an employee of the squad to be eligible for medical benefits, detectives allege.

    In the affidavit, Rookstool allegedly told detectives if she did not have health care she'd "be living under a bridge" because she could not afford out-of-pocket medical expenses.

    During the time Rookstool received medical coverage, the Morrisville Ambulance Squad paid $27,000 in insurance premiums, while the insurance companies paid out more than $65,000 in claims.

    The detectives said Eckert and Rookstool admitted some of the allegations to investigators, and strongly disputed others.

    In all, the district attorney's office allege Rookstool stole a total of $101,634.55 in funds, and Eckert $30,785.44.

    Rookstool turned herself in Tuesday morning and a judge set bail at $50,000 unsecured. Eckert was arraigned last week before the same judge and released on $30,000 unsecured bail.

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

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    A winter weather advisory will be in effect from Thursday morning to Friday morning in northern and central counties.

    The National Weather Service issued a winter weather advisory as a strong coastal storm moves toward the state on Thursday. 

    A winter weather advisory will be in effect from 10 a.m. Thursday to 7 a.m. Friday in Sussex, Warren, Morris, Hunterdon, Somerset, Middlesex and Mercer counties. 

    The advisory means that periods of snow, limited visibility and freezing rain will make for a messy commute. 

    The weather service also issued a wind advisory in effect from 1 p.m. to 11 p.m. Thursday in southern counties, including Monmouth, Ocean and Burlington. 

    Sophie Nieto-Munoz may be reached at Follow her at @snietomunoz. Find on Facebook.

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    He groped or exposed himself to young girls in at least 7 different incidents

    A Trenton man arrested early this year on charges he groped and exposed himself to young girls for months throughout the city will spend five years in prison after pleading guilty to seven crimes, authorities announced.

    Carlton Francis, 31, was busted in January after surveillance footage led police to his vehicle, and ultimately, him. 

    Carlton Francis.jpgCarlton Francis, police photo

    Authorities said Francis approached the girls - some on their way to school - starting in the summer of 2017, until late January, when police caught him.

    Francis was originally charged with 11 counts of criminal sexual contact, six counts of endangering the welfare of a child, two counts of harassment and a count of marijuana possession. 

    Trenton police had described him as a "serial groper."

    He pleaded guilty to six counts of third-degree endangering the welfare of a child and one count of fourth-degree criminal sexual contact on Tuesday, the Mercer County Prosecutor's Office said Wednesday. 

    In addition to a five-year sentence in state prison, as part of a plea agreement, he'll also be evaluated at the state's Adult Diagnostic and Treatment Center in Avenel, in Woodbridge. The agreement also calls for Francis to be on parole supervision for life after he's out of prison, and he'll have to register as a sex offender. 

    His official sentencing will be in January 2019.

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


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    The man was dead at the scene, shot multiple times

    This post has been updated with the identity of the man killed. 

    A shooting in the 300 block of Spring Street Wednesday afternoon left a young man dead, authorities said.

    Trenton police officers found the Quanmir Spears, of Ewing, in the street after responding to a 3:40 p.m. ShotSpotter activation, the city's gunfire detection system, city police and the Mercer County Prosecutor's Office said.

    Spears, 28, was pronounced dead at the scene. He'd been shot multiple times.

    Police and prosecutor's detectives were working Wednesday evening on evidence at the scene, including an idling car nearby.

    The prosecutor's Homicide Task Force is leading the investigation.

    Wednesday's is the second daylight shooting in as many days in Trenton. Two men were wounded in a shooting on East State Street Tuesday morning.

    A connection between the incidents was not immediately suspected, but will be examined, Trenton police said late Wednesday.

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


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    Two sanitation employees took gunfire in their vehicle during the gun battle, but were not injured

    A Trenton man wounded in a gun battle along East State Street Tuesday morning was later charged with being a part of it when city police detectives spotted him firing at his assailant on video footage.

    Justice Ford, 31, is charged with aggravated assault and related firearms charges for his alleged part in the 10 a.m. incident, Trenton police said Wednesday.

    Ford was the driver of a white car that crashed near the scene, and from which he emerged bleeding from gunshot wounds. He was taken to a city hospital for treatment.

    While investigating, police spokesman Lt. Darren Zappley said Wednesday, detectives found footage that shows Ford's vehicle being shot at by a gunman on foot, and the vehicle rapidly driving in reverse to avoid it.

    However, Ford then gets out of his car, fires back with a handgun and then hops back in and speeds away. He crashed a few blocks away.

    In addition to the video, Zappley said police found bullet casings at the scene, and witnesses that corroborated a shootout, with Ford as one of the gunmen.

    Officers did not locate Ford's gun at the scene, though, despite an extensive search of the immediate area, Zappley said. 

    The second person shot, a 35-year-old city resident, is not charged with any crimes, and appears to be a victim. He suffered a non life-threatening injury.

    Police also found that bullets struck a city sanitation vehicle's windshield during the incident, but did not fully penetrate the glass. The two workers fled the area and called police from a safe area, Zappley said.

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

    0 0

    Photos of dozens of signings plus sport-by-sport lists

    (Please refresh for updated photos over the few days)

    The time is here for high school athletes to make it official.

    The stars of so many sports from New Jersey high schools go from recruits to signees on Wednesday, National Signing Day for the fall's early signing period.

    The fall signing period runs through Nov. 21 for Division 1 boys and girls basketball and to Aug. 1 of 2019 for other Division 1 and 2 sports. This is for all sports with the exception of football, which has its early signing period from Dec. 19 to Dec. 21.

    Athletes who have made verbal commitments to a university can officially accept a scholarship by signing with their chosen school during these periods.

    We plan to bring you stories, photos and videos from around the state of Signing Day ceremonies. As such, we invite all athletes, administrators, parents and other supporters of the high school programs and athletes to send us anything you would like to see included in our coverage by filling out this form.

    SEND SIGNINGS: will post signings and Signing Day photos

    A breakdown of the state's student-athletes who are expected to sign, starting Wednesday.

    Please refresh throughout the day for updates on signings, photos and videos.





















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    The Knights of Columbus' "Send a Hero Home" campaign helps boost morale as temperatures fall and days grow darker.

    The holidays can be a particularly lonely time for active-duty members of the military.

    Remembering the joys of Christmases past, yearning to be with loved ones - when you're far from home, these take on an urgency that strikes hard and deep.

    For the past five years, members of the New Jersey branch of Knights of Columbus have done their part to bring some of these women and men home to their families. Now they're looking for donations to help them continue their mission this season.

    The organization has raised almost $120,000 in previous years to buy train, bus or plane tickets for service members. These efforts have allowed 216 soldiers, sailors, airmen, Marines and Coast Guard members to experience the holidays at home - wherever home may be

    Working with base chaplains at Joint Base McGuire-Dix-Lakehurst, program organizers identify recipients, especially junior enlisted members with a rank no higher than E3.

    Knights of Columbus is a Catholic fraternal organization dedicated to promoting educational, charitable, religious and social welfare works.

    The New Jersey branch, founded 130 years ago, is known for conducting toy drives, food collections and blood drives, in addition to other projects.

    Nationally, the Knights sponsor a website called, which allows servicemen and women to post their needs and wants and provides addresses to send requested items. They also collect phone cards for hospitalized vets.

    The "Send a Hero Home" campaign ranks high among these projects, boosting morale as temperatures fall and days grow darker.

    The Joint Base is a busy place. It sprawls over 20 miles and two counties, housing more than 42,000 military personnel from all branches.

    But with all the bustle, a military base can be a lonely place at this most festive time of year. And the Knights understand this.

    The average ticket price for travel arranged by the organization is about $500.

    We know the demands this time of year can be enormous: time, money, energy. But considering the sacrifices our service members make, the Knights' efforts are worthy of your attention.

    The deadline for contributions - large or small - is Dec. 1, to allow for travel arrangements to be made in time. If you're interested, call Thomas Ponting at 609-695-5081, or email

    You also can mail donations to "Send a Hero Home" c/o William Horton, PO Box 175, Keyport, NJ. 07735.

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


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    A South Jersey couple and the homeless vet for whom they launched a fundraising campaign will all face charges for supposedly making up the viral sob story in order to scam money, NBC reported.

    A Burlington County couple and the homeless vet for whom they launched a fundraising campaign will all face charges for supposedly making up the viral sob story in order to scam money, NBC reported Wednesday night.

    The couple, Mark D'Amico and Kate McClure, of Florence, and the homeless man, Johnny Bobbitt, will face charges that include conspiracy and theft by deception after they allegedly fabricated the story to raise over $400,000 through an ultra-successful GoFundMe campaign, the report stated.

    The Burlington County Prosecutor's Office did not confirm the charges Wednesday. The prosecutor has announced a 2 p.m. press conference Thursday about the case.

    McClure and D'Amico turned themselves over to the Burlington County Prosecutor's Office on Wednesday, but it was unclear if Bobbitt also turned himself in, NBC reported.

    Ask Alexa

    McClure said last November that she ran out of gas and became stranded on I-95 in Philadelphia and that Bobbitt spent his last $20 to help her fill her tank.

    The couple launched a GoFundMe campaign to repay him and help get the 35-year-old former North Carolina resident back on his feet as the story garnered national attention. 

    The couple and Bobbitt's relationship soured after he filed a lawsuit in September saying that he had not been given full access to the funds.

    The couple's home was raided in September and their personal and business financial statements were seized, but no charges were filed against them, according to NBC.

    Chris Sheldon may be reached at Follow him on Twitter @chrisrsheldon Find on Facebook.

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    The fire broke out around 10 a.m. on Reservoir Street Watch video

    A woman was killed and three others injured in a house fire in Trenton on Thursday morning, police said. 

    All four were pulled from the fire on the 400 block of Reservoir Street. The fire broke out around 10 a.m., Lt. Darren Zappely said. 

    In all, 11 people in five different buildings were displaced, according to the Red Cross of New Jersey.

    Firefighters were called to the two-alarm fire and learned at least one person was trapped on the second floor, according to Battalion Chief Chief Todd Willever of the Trenton Fire Department.

    Firefighter hurt in 2-alarm blaze in Somerset County

    Heavy fire ripped thorough the first floor of the home before firefighters brought it under control in about an hour, the battalion chief said. Several people were displaced. 

    Officials didn't immediately have information on the cause of the fire or where it began. Video from the scene shows significant damage to the roof and side of the home as well as several missing windows. 

    Arson detectives are at the house early this afternoon, though it has not been determined of the fire is suspicious, Zapley said. The age and identity of the woman killed was not immediately available. 

    The Red Cross arrived on scene to help residents forced out of their homes. 

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



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    Quenten Couch, a New Jersey-based tap dancer, made it to the semi-finals of the prestigious contest, finishing second among six performers. Watch video

    Dance legend Gregory Hines died in 2003 after making his name as a world-class dancer, choreographer and movie actor. Hearing the news, a 5-year-old from Trenton had a request for his mother.

    Can I take tap dance lessons, too? he wanted to know.

    This month, at the ripe old age of 21, Quenten Couch came very close to walking away - no, dancing away - with a chance to vie in the Super Top Dog Competition at Harlem's legendary Apollo Theater.

    Yes, that would be the same theater that helped propel Gregory Hines to stardom, and that later hosted a star-studded memorial tribute in his honor featuring Ben Vereen, Ruby Dee, Laurence Fishburne and Chita Rivera, among other topnotch performers.

    Couch made it to the semi-finals of the prestigious contest, finishing second among six performers - including singers and rappers - on Wednesday, Oct. 24. The only tapper among them, he returned for the next round three weeks later.

    N.J. tap dancer shines at the famed Apollo

    Although he did not qualify to compete for the ultimate top prize of $20,000, or the bragging rights that would have gone with it, Couch ranks as a winner in our eyes.

    He's a hero, too, among the students he's taught the last six years at the Watson Johnson Dance Theater, many of whom were in the audience to cheer on his multiple performances on the Apollo stage. And among the local supporters who took advantage of a bus trip organized by Heal the City Trenton to be part of the action.

    Couch was more than ready for the competition. After all, his teachers have included such superstars of tap as Chip Gentile, Savion Glover and Deborah Mitchell, the artistic director of the NJTAP dance troupe.

    Friends call him a true showman, a man dedicated to his craft.

    Area residents thrill to his performances at charity events; young people line up for his classes at the Watson Dance Theater, believed to be the oldest African-American dance studio in Trenton.

    On stage and in the studio, Couch exudes a degree of creative intensity that's almost impossible to contain. 

    He describes himself as a "hoofer," which the dance world defines as a tap dancer who emphasizes movements from the waist down, concentrating on the intricate percussive rhythms of his feet.

    Whatever label this son of Trenton chooses for himself, and wherever his artistic journey takes him next, the city and its residents are proudly along for the ride.

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


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    Mercer County schools have announced delayed openings or school closings due to snow for Friday, Nov. 16

    A messy winter storm that brought snow, freezing rain and icy conditions to the northern half of New Jersey on Thursday has caused schools to announce delayed openings and closures for Friday.

    The following Mercer County schools are closed or have delayed openings on Friday, Nov. 16 as officials work to clear parking lots, sidewalks and roads.


    No districts reported


    Precious Angels Learning Center-Yardville (9:30 a.m. start)

    Chris Sheldon may be reached at Follow him on Twitter @chrisrsheldon Find on Facebook.



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    Johnny Bobbitt, Mark D'Amico and Katelyn McClure are all facing charges.

    UPDATE: GoFundMe campaign was a complete lie from the very start, prosecutor says

    The homeless veteran and the couple who started the controversial GoFundMe fundraiser supposedly to raise money for him have been charged in the alleged scheme.

    The couple, Mark D'Amico and Katelyn McClure, was charged Wednesday with theft by deception over $75,000 and conspiracy, according to court records. 

    Their charges are not a surprise, as investigators raided their home in September and their attorney said in a court filing that he expected them to be indicted.

    But Johnny Bobbitt, who had previously claimed he was the victim of a scheme by the couple to keep the money raised for him, is now charged in the alleged con with them. 

    Bobbitt, 35, was taken into custody in Philadelphia, jail officials said. Officials did not release what he was charged with.

    Bobbitt arrived at the Curran-Fromhold Correctional Facility in Philadelphia just after midnight Thursday, said Shawn Hawes, a spokeswoman for the city prisons. Bail was set at $50,000, she said.

    An employee at the Burlington County Jail who answered the phone Thursday morning confirmed D'Amico had been detained and released. However, there is no record that McClure was ever booked at a jail, which would be the case if she was issued a summons.

    The charges were filed in municipal court in Florence Township, where the couple live, but will be transferred to superior court.

    Ask Alexa

    Burlington County Prosecutor Scott Coffina plans to announce an update in the investigation during a press conference Thursday afternoon at the county's administration building. 

    NBC10 reported Wednesday night that the three are being charged because they allegedly fabricated the entire story to raise money.

    The trio went viral last Thanksgiving in a feel-good GoFundMe campaign, after Bobbitt, a homeless veteran, reportedly spent his last $20 on gas for McClure when she was stranded along I-95 in Philadelphia. 

    She started the campaign seeking to raise around $10,000, hopefully enough to get Bobbitt a used truck and a few months rent in an apartment while he got back on his feet. 

    But donors fueled by the holiday spirit ended up contributing just over $400,000 to the account. In the weeks that followed, it looked like Bobbitt's story might get a happy ending. 

    It was not immediately clear Thursday morning if McClure had been booked as well. 

    Thursday's update comes after months of inquiries into the whereabouts of the money. Late this summer, Bobbitt claimed that he had been unable to access most of the money, and had to ask McClure and D'Amico for cash. He also accused the couple of spending it on lavish vacations and a BMW. 

    They have denied the allegations, saying they spent their own money on the luxuries. They did acknowledge withholding it from Bobbitt, saying he had an ongoing drug problem and blown through some $25,000 in just 13 days. 

    Bobbitt sued for the remainder of the cash, but his attorneys soon discovered there was no money left. GoFundMe promised Bobbitt would get the cash he was owed, but was unable to provide updates on its distribution when asked several times over the past two months when he would see the cash. 

    A spokesman for GoFundMe did not immediately respond to a request for comment Thursday morning. 

    NJ Advance Media reporter Rebecca Everett contributed to this report. 

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    The couple met the homeless man before their reported encounter at a gas station, prosecutors said. Watch video

    The story seemed too good to be true. 

    The feel-good story about a New Jersey couple who started a GoFundMe campaign to help a homeless veteran who had helped a stranded driver was "predicated on a lie," Burlington County Prosecutor Scott Coffina announced Thursday.

    All three are charged with theft by deception over $75,000 and conspiracy.

    In fact, the couple from Florence Township, Katelyn McClure and Mark D'Amico, met Johnny Bobbitt about a month before they cooked up the plan. The couple frequented the Sugarhouse Casino in Philadelphia and Bobbitt panhandled nearby, Coffina said at a press conference in the Burlington County Administrative Building Thursday.

    The couple later texted each other that they wanted to help Bobbitt -- beyond the $10 they had given him when they last saw him. By Nov. 10, 2017, the three had come up with a plan, Coffina said.

    D'Amico, 39, took a photo of McClure, 28, and Bobbitt, 35 on the I-95 off-ramp and they used it on the GoFundMe page started a year ago as they claimed Bobbitt had used his last $20 to get gas for McClure when she was stranded.

    Just two weeks after the campaign was started -- while the three were doing a media blitz that helped bring in hundreds of thousands in donations -- McClure texted her friend that it was a lie. 

    "I had to make something up to make people feel bad," she texted, according to a probable cause statement filed by the prosecutor's office.

    The story they concocted "worked in a big way," Coffina said, bilking 14,347 donors out of just over $400,000. They planned to split the $367,109 that they made after GoFundMe's fees, he said.

    He declined to say which one of the three had first suggested the scheme, but noted that Bobbitt had posted something remarkably similar on his Facebook page in 2012. He posted that he had spent his last dollars to help a woman with a flat tire and no gas, Coffina said. 

    Bobbitt, originally from North Carolina, at one point was living in a camper on the couple's property, but then the relationship soured and he gave an interview to, accusing the couple of withholding money meant for him and using it on luxuries and trips.

    If he hadn't made the accusation and later filed suit against them, the group might not have ever been found out, Coffina said. 

    The couple, already in debt, had spent the money quickly, buying a car, clothing and trips, he said. By March, McClure and D'Amico were already texting each other concerned that they only had $10,000 left, but D'Amico texted that they would get a book deal and the money would be pouring in soon, Coffina said.

    In May, they used the car as collateral to get a high-interest loan for $10,085 in McClure's name.

    When Bobbitt told a reporter in August that the couple had spent the money meant for him, McClure and D'Amico denied the allegations on NBC News's Megyn Kelly TODAY. They did acknowledge withholding it from Bobbitt, saying he had an ongoing drug problem and blown through some $25,000 in just 13 days. 

    But out of public view, the three were messaging each other about how to not get caught in the lie, according to the probable cause statement. The couple brainstormed ways to get Bobbitt out of Philadelphia.

    By the end of August, Bobbitt's attorneys discovered there was no money left. At the time, GoFundMe promised Bobbitt would get the cash he was owed

    In a statement, GoFundMe said all donors will receive a full refund. A spokesman for the company also said the prosecutor's office is seeking to "recover every dollar withdrawn by Ms. McClure and Mr. D'Amico," but didn't mention money used by Bobbitt.

    Bobbitt remains held in Philadelphia jail waiting extradition after being arrested Wednesday night. McClure and D'Amico were booked and released by Thursday morning. 

    The second-degree crimes they're facing generally are punishable by sentences of five to 10 years, Coffina said.

    The Department of Transportation, where McClure worked as a secretary, confirmed she is still employed there but did not disclose whether the charges had changed her work status.

    NJ Advance Media reporters Amanda Hoover and Joe Brandt contributed to this report.

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

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    Can you get your cash back if you donated to Johnny Bobbitt?

    A homeless veteran and a couple who helped raise $400,000 in a viral GoFundMe are all now facing charges after allegedly making up a good deed to scam donors. 

    So, what happens with all the well-intentioned donations? Or, well, lack thereof? 

    The campaign's 14,000 donors are all getting a refund, GoFundMe announced Thursday in a statement sent via email during a press conference by Burlington County Prosecutor Scott Coffina. He announced the theft charges against veteran Johnny Bobbitt, Kate McClure and Mark D'Amico.

    "While this type of behavior by an individual is extremely rare, it's unacceptable and clearly it has consequences," Bobby Whithorne, a spokesman with the company, said in the statement. "Committing fraud, whether it takes place on or offline is against the law. We are fully cooperating and assisting law enforcement officials to recover every dollar withdrawn by Ms. McClure and Mr. D'Amico."   

    The trio made international headlines with their story of how Bobbitt, a homeless veteran living in Philadelphia, spent his last $20 to get McClure back on the road when she ran out of gas on I-95 last fall. McClure was hoping to raise $10,000 to get him off the streets and back on his feet, but donors heeded the call to help and ended up dropping $400,000 into the GoFundMe she'd set up with D'Amico. 

    The three appeared to all on social media as a happy group of close-knit, new-found friends, or even family, as they described it. But when things went sour this summer, suspicious arose. Bobbitt began accusing the couple of spending all his cash, and an investigation ensued. 

    After it appeared that the couple had spent Bobbitt's money, GoFundMe said it deposited $20,000 into an account controlled by Bobbitt's attorneys, and assured its donors that Bobbitt would get the full windfall of cash owed to him.

    After the prosecutor announced charges against Bobbitt and the couple Thursday, GoFundMe said it would work with law enforcement to recover the misspent funds, as is the company's policy.

    During Thursday's press conference, Coffina noted the chilling effect fraudulent fundraising can have on charitable contributions, but encouraged people to not let the sad story keep them from being generous. 

    GoFundMe echoed that sentiment, noting that campaigns resulting in misuse make up less than one-tenth of 1 percent of activity on the platform. 

    "One fraudulent campaign is one too many, but when it does take place, we take action to protect donors," Whithorne said.

    More information about the site's refund policy can be found here:

    Amanda Hoover can be reached at Follow her on Twitter @amandahoovernj. Find on Facebook

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    The crime occurred on Chambers Street in Trenton's East Ward

    A Trenton man who admitted stabbing a Hamilton man in the city in 2013 was sentenced to 12 years in prison Friday.

    tn0808miller.JPGStanley Miller, 2013 photo

    Stanley Miller IV, 31, was originally charged with murder and related crimes following the death of Abraham Jeditoe, 21, in August 2013, and later admitted fighting with the victim, but not stabbing him.

    Miller admitted his crime recently while pleading guilty to a reduced charge, aggravated manslaughter.

    His 12-year term is a NERA (No Early Release Act) sentence, which means he''ll have to serve 85 percent of his sentence before being eligible for parole, the Mercer County Prosecutor's Office said.

    When arrested, Miller wore his hair in a pink, Mohawk style and his neck tattoos stood out as well. Police said at the time that a personal dispute between the men led to the fatal fight.

    A police officer saw Miller with Jeditoe minutes before the stabbing, and police located another witness who described the aftermath and how Jeditoe ran from Miller saying he'd been stabbed, authorities have said.

    Trenton police Detective Scott Peterson investigated the crime.

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



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    Princeton's quarterback is leading the Tigers to an undefeated season so far

    One could say that Princeton University football player John Lovett wears his emotions on his sleeve.

    Even on his head. And his wrist.

    You can't miss the black cast on the quarterback's left arm, one that stretches from his wrist to his elbow. He obviously plays the game in pain. And he likes country music, announced by the camouflage baseball cap with the stitched name of singer Eric Church.

    And then there is the tiny rubber wrist band on his right hand. It is in remembrance of a Navy SEAL who was killed eight years ago during a helicopter operation in Afghanistan. He was a graduate of the U.S. Naval Academy.

    Lovett knew of him from Lt. Brendan Looney's mother, a teacher at his high school. Inscribed on the band: Be strong. Be accountable. Never complain.

    "His words,'' the 22-year-old said the other day, sitting at a table courtside at Jadwin Gym. "I like to wear this to put things into perspective.''

    A fifth-year senior at the Ivy League school, he is unequivocally the leader of this Princeton football team. They are one game from completing an undefeated season, something that has not happened here since 1964. A win over Penn on Saturday will cap a 10-0 season, the most wins in school history.

    Princeton is ranked ninth in the FCS Coaches Poll and leads the country is scoring at 47.6 points per game.

    "There's some added excitement,'' he said about the 1 p.m. kickoff at home. "I wish it was Saturday.''

    Football Saturdays have been in his life since playing organized football as a six-year-old growing up on Long Island. Right from the start he was the quarterback. The youngest of four with three sisters, his athletic genes came mostly from a father who played baseball at Le Moyne College in Syracuse, N.Y.

    And his mom. "She has quick feet,'' he cracked, "from chasing us around the house.'' Sister Coleen is 23, Erin 29 and Mary Eileen 30. He is also Uncle Johnny.

    Lovett played linebacker until high school, was a pitcher and outfielder, and, because there wasn't enough action in baseball, the energetic Lovett also tried lacrosse.

    But his passion was football.

    "Having the ability to lead is what I love most,'' he said. "Having the ball in your hands every play. There's a lot of responsibility to the team to do the best you can do to win, and that's something I take pride in.''

    Lovett_HarvardPT66.jpgLovett scampers for yardage against Harvard. (Patrick Tewey photo) 

    The work ethic comes from his parents. His father John is a retired New York City fireman. His grandfather and an uncle also had careers with the FDNY. His mother Joan is a labor and delivery nurse.

    "I guess I get my toughness from my mom and dad and got that fiery Irish temper,'' he said with a laugh. "They've instilled hard work, confidence and a never-quit mentality. My whole family. I think that's where a lot of my passion comes from.''

    Coach Bob Surace noticed the high school player at a Princeton summer camp, saying, "It wasn't just his athleticism. This guy was different; his leadership and his energy. Other guys looked up to him.

    "Injuries happen,'' head coach Bob Surace said, "but they can't happen because you've already gained twenty yards on a run, and now you're looking for a safety to run over instead of trying to make somebody miss. We've had to dial some of his toughness back.''

    Freshman year Lovett started on jayvee but midway through the season went down with a foot stress fracture. Sophomore year, despite missing the final month of the season with a groin issue, he made first-team All-Ivy.

    As a junior he led Princeton to the Ivy League title, was named league Offensive Player of the Year and was All-America. Against Cornell he passed for four touchdowns, ran in two others and even caught a TD pass.

    Amazingly a postseason MRI revealed he played the entire season with a fully torn labrum as well as bone damage to the left shoulder.

    That led to shoulder surgery, which led to missing his fourth year. As per student-athlete rules he had to drop out of school. Spending a few months working out off-campus, he returned in late spring to observe practice and team meetings, and also did an internship with a local realty firm.

    He was off to another quick start this season before the undisclosed injury against Lehigh forced him to miss the following game, against Brown five weeks ago.

    Despite the cast, Lovett has done anything but dodge contact. In the past four games he has carried the ball 76 times and passed 96 times. That's 172 plays being a target. Against Yale last week he ran 20 times. Two weeks ago against Dartmouth he ran it 22 times.

    On the season he has run for just under 100 yards per game, on 121 carries, and scored 12 touchdowns. He has passed for more than 1,500 yards, averaging just under 200 yards on 193 attempts. He has thrown for 15 TDs. And has just two interceptions.

    Tough guy? (He paused seven seconds before answering).

    "I just have a passion for what I do. I don't think of myself as a tough guy. Whatever I'm asked to do I'm gonna' go one thousand miles per hour. If you like the game enough, and your teammates enough, you're gonna' do anything to be out there. As far as playing with pain, it's football,'' he said. "If I can go out there, I'm gonna play no matter how much pain I'm in.''

    He wears a hard cast in games, with one-inch padding on the outside. He cannot stiff-arm defenders, cannot carry the ball with his left hand, has to lock in just to take the snap and hand the ball off, has to focus on ball security, and tries to be conscious about how he falls. Going up the middle, he's been getting banged up and obviously taking intentional hits on the arm.

    Then again, "Once I'm out there,'' he said, "I let the Adrenaline take over and I'm not thinking about my arm.''

    He just thinks about winning. As one of Church's country songs is titled, "The Only Way I know.''

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    The victim died about a week after the knife attack

    His mother and her live-in boyfriend asked him to get off the sofa so they could clean their Burlington Township apartment.

    William E Hines Jr.jpgWilliam Hines Jr.

    William Hines Jr. was angered by the request and responded by waiting until the boyfriend, Scott Willis, with whom he argued, got into the shower a short time later.

    With a kitchen knife, Hines unleashed a knife attack that left Willis mortally wounded.

    The 54-year-old Willis died about a week later, on Nov. 4, 2017, at a Camden hospital.

    Hines, who was arrested a short time after the crime, was later charged with murder and last month a Burlington County jury convicted him of murder and weapons charges on his 35th birthday.

    On Friday, Judge Charles A. Delehey sentenced Hines to life in state prison, technically 75 years with no parole eligibility for 68 of them.

    "This was a calculated and extremely violent attack, and this sentence is just," Burlington County Prosecutor Scott Coffina said in a statement.

    Bob VanGilst and Jensen E. Vizzard prosecuted Hines, and detectives Michael Reagan, Michael Casella and Tim Horne worked the case.

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


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    During its heyday the trolley would have traveled all around Mercer County from Trenton to neighboring suburbs such as Hamilton and all the way up to Princeton.

    The last known Trenton trolley car is in the process of finding a new home. The car was found last month inside a Hamilton New Jersey house, slated for renovations. After the trolley was found by business partners Marc Manfredi and Brandon Breza, they knew they wanted to try and preserve this piece of history.

    "We knew we had something great here," Breza said. "We knew we had a valuable artifact of history."

    Manfredi and Breza reached out to various historical groups and train enthusiasts trying to find someone to preserve the train. They eventually got in contact with William McKelvey of the Liberty Historic Railway.

    According to McKelvey, the trolley car was built in 1914 by the J.P. Brill Trolley Company of Philadelphia and was used as part of the Trenton trolley system until 1934 when it discontinued its service.

    During its heyday the trolley would have traveled all around Mercer County from Trenton to neighboring suburbs such as Hamilton and all the way up to Princeton, and would have seated about 50 passengers, McKelvey said.

    It is believed that the same year the trolley service stopped, the car was brought to its current spot in Hamilton where a man named John Guthrie used the trolley car to make a house for his son William, who had fallen on hard times.

    William made the first additions to the home, creating a room at the back of the trolley car in order to expand his living space.

    Over the years the house passed through multiple owners who continued to add rooms to the front and back of the trolley car. The second owner, Evelyn Brice, raised her three children within the 500 square feet and outfitted the home with running water and gas heaters.

    By the time Manfredi and Breza purchased the home in a foreclosure sale, the foundation of the home was no longer up to code, so they decided to demolish the house but save the trolley car.

    Once the exterior of the house is removed the trolley car will be lifted by a crane onto a flatbed truck and will spend about a year in Iowa being restored until the trolley car can be brought back to New Jersey as part of a museum display.

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

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    The trooper fired his service weapon at the suspect after the suspect allegedly pointed a gun at the trooper, but no one was injured.

    A Blackwood man was indicted Friday on an attempted murder charge and 13 other criminal counts following a shooting in a hotel parking lot earlier this year, according to a release from the New Jersey's Office of the Attorney General. 

    Back in May, Luis Figueroa, 29, allegedly fired multiple shots from a stolen handgun at a Rodeway Inn male employee as the man was pulling into the hotel's parking lot, authorities say. 

    An investigation from the Attorney General's Office later determined that Figueroa mistakenly believed the hotel employee was another man who he had got into an argument with earlier.

    Luis-Figueroa-2.jpgLuis Figueroa, 29. 

    None of Figueroa's shots hit the hotel employee.

    After missing, Figueroa walked out to Wheat Road and pointed the gun at a man driving, who called police at a nearby Wawa. 

    State police, Vineland and Franklin Township cops responded.

    As authorities arrived at the hotel, a state trooper spotted a man matching the shooter's description at the Cranberry Run retirement community.

    Figueroa took off into a wooded area when the trooper got out of his car and told Figueroa to show his hands.

    During a chase, the trooper fired three rounds at Figueroa after the man pulled a gun.

    None of the trooper's shots hit, and Figueroa ran deeper into the wooded area.

    However, the chase was short-lived as he fell and the trooper arrested him.

    A grand jury determined on Wednesday that the trooper was justified in shooting at Figueroa. 

    After being handcuffed, officials say they found the stolen Keltec 9mm on Figueroa and a bag of drugs including .32 ounces of heroin mixed with fentanyl and approximately .18 ounces of cocaine.

    At Figueroa's hotel room, cops say they found a scale, latex gloves and packaging materials such as wax folds and baggies

    Figueroa is facing charges of first-degree attempted murder, second-degree aggravated assault, unlawful possession of a handgun, possession of a weapon for an unlawful purpose, possessions of a weapon while committing narcotics offense, third-degree aggravated assault, receiving stolen property, two charges each of possession of narcotics with intent to distribute and possession of narcotics and fourth-degree resisting arrest. 

    Taylor Tiamoyo Harris may be reached at Follow her on Twitter @ladytiamoyo.

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    Emergency crews arrived at the scene and found a white Ford van and a red sedan had collided.

    A man has died after a Saturday morning car crash in Trenton, police said. 

    At 6:19 a.m. Trenton police received a call reporting a car accident on Route 129 South and Lalor Street, Det. Lt. Peter Szpakowski said. 

    Emergency crews arrived at the scene and found a white Ford van and a red sedan had collided. 

    Nery Rodriguez, 59, of Trenton was a passenger in the van and died from his injuries in the accident, Szpakowski said. The drivers of each vehicle and the four other passengers in the van had non-life threatening injuries. Szpakowski said.

    The incident is still under investigation, but police believe neither alcohol or speed was a factor in the accident.

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

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