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Man pleads guilty in New Jersey murder case

A Toms River, New Jersey, man already convicted of killing a police officer has now admitted to another felony charge. The man, age 21, has pleaded guilty to felony murder charges in connection with the slaying of a 20-year-old victim in 2010.

Authorities report the victim in the earlier murder was shot five times in the head and once in the chest during the October 2010 encounter. Just three months after that event, on Jan. 14, 2011, the defendant murdered a Lakewood police officer. A jury trial yielded a conviction for those charges in February 2012, according to official news reports. The man is already imprisoned for life without parole in connection with the murder of the officer.

An additional sentencing hearing will be held for the man in early August, during which the judge will impose a second life term without the possibility for parole. Although some local residents are distraught the man is not receiving the death penalty for his actions, a 2007 law in New Jersey prohibits capital punishment even in murder cases. Furthermore, federal prisoners are ineligible for parole. They can only reduce their potential prison time by about 15 percent, depending on good behavior and other factors.

The defendant in this case chose to plead guilty to the murder charges, likely after consulting with his criminal defense attorney. The decision to enter a guilty plea requires a significant amount of thought, consideration and information. Defendants can learn more about this legal option while talking with their defense attorneys. If you are facing a federal criminal charge, consider seeking the opinion of a qualified criminal defense attorney. These professionals can help protect your courtroom rights while striving for the best possible outcome in your criminal case. From arraignment to sentencing and beyond, rely on your defense attorney to promote your interests in court.

Source:  www.nj.com, "Convicted cop killer pleads guilty to Lakewood murder three months earlier" Seth Augenstein, Jun. 06, 2013

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