by Dr. Boyce Watkins, The Institute for Black Public Policy
Nearly three years ago, two black college students and a friend were murdered in a schoolyard in Newark, NJ. Monday, a jury returned guilty verdicts for three of the murders and one attempted murder after deliberating for less than a day.
Rodolfo Godinez, a 26-year old gang member and native of Nicaragua, was convicted of all charges against him, including multiple counts of robbery, weapons possession and conspiracy. He can get up to 30 years to life for each murder count, and the sentences can be given out consecutively.
"This man will never see the light of day," said Robert D. Laurino, the acting Essex County prosecutor.
Sentencing for Godinez is set for July 8. His lawyer, Roy Greenman, said,"Obviously, there will be an appeal on a number of grounds," but he declined to state the grounds on which he'd be filing.
The prosecution did not assert that Godinez was the one who hacked at the victims with a machete or shot each of them execution-style, in the back of the head. He was argued, however, to be the one who summoned the other gang members to the schoolyard on the night when the murders took place. The murders were particularly chilling because all four of the victims were "good kids" with no criminal history and educational plans for the future.
Find more black news at: