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5-year-old New Jersey murder case continues, with juror questions

Can you imagine becoming a target of a serious criminal charge and still awaiting your fate regarding the charge five years later? A New Jersey murder defendant was only a kid when the violent crime he's been accused of occurred. Now, he is a 20-year-old man on the brink of learning his future.

The defendant and several others were charged with the murder of three people. One young woman who was also part of the incident but survived has served as a witness against the defendant. She reportedly was unable to identify the defendant as someone who was present during the violent crime that changed her life years ago.

Another point that works in favor of the murder defendant, according to his criminal defense attorney, is no physical evidence exists that connects the young man to the violence that occurred. He may have been at the location, but it is not clear that he participated in the acts of violence. Plus, another suspect who got a plea deal for testifying against the defendant was supposedly angry at him for giving the police names of who was responsible for the murders. His anger could have motivated him to lie about the defendant's role in the incident.

This could be a case of the then teenager, the youngest of all the New Jersey murder defendants, being at the wrong place at the wrong time with the wrong people. The jury hearing this case sees the defendant's age at the time as a valuable point. This week, they asked the judge if they could consider age when coming to their verdict. The defendant is being tried as an adult, which to some might seem quite harsh considering how young 15 really is.

The judge told the jurors that they could let the defendant's age affect their decision, though it should not be the basis for their decision.

As this trial continues, we will update you of new developments.

Source: The Star-Ledger, "Defendant's age is a question as jury deliberates Newark schoolyard slay trial," Alexi Friedman, Nov. 8, 2012

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