Last Monday, an appellate court panel upheld the convictions of two men who were found guilty of murdering a man in 2017 for being in the incorrect territory for their group.
The court did not reverse the convictions of Jahi Beatty, 25, and Rashad Exum, 30, for April 29, 2017, shooting the death of Amir Pleasant, 20, but they did win some minor triumphs.
Following his conviction and 20-year sentence for first-degree conspiracy to commit murder, Exum will receive credit for serving only four days behind bars.
Beatty was resentenced after being found guilty of two charges of hindering and given consecutive five-year jail terms to be served after time served for an unrelated offense.
Since the appeals court merely took issue with the judge’s failure to explain why Beatty’s new sentences would run consecutive to his existing five-year sentence for weapons possession, there is no assurance that his sentence will be reduced.
The murder of Pleasant, which took place on Dwight Street, resulted in the imprisonment of two other men.
In exchange for his evidence at trial, William Davis pleaded guilty to aggravated assault and conspiracy to commit aggravated assault, and the jury found Marquise Brown guilty of murder and weapons violations.
According to trial testimony from another associate and information from a law enforcement source, Pleasant didn’t belong on Dwight Street, where he was spotted in a parked car by members of a gang from Bidwell Avenue because he was affiliated with a rival gang from the nearby Curries Woods neighborhood.
Within the vehicle, Pleasant was shot; he later died while on the way to the Jersey City Medical Center in his own vehicle.
Officers located Pleasant with gunshot wounds to the head and body in his vehicle at the intersection of Grand Street and Jersey Avenue.
Beatty’s attorney stated in the appeal that the trial judge made a mistake while instructing the jury on the allegations of hindering and that the prosecutor committed misconduct by suggesting in his closing statement that Beatty’s attorney had intentionally misled the jury.
Beatty claimed during his sentencing hearing that mitigating circumstances that could have resulted in a lesser sentence were ignored.
According to Exum’s appeal, “the state’s case was predicated completely on the dishonest testimony of William Davis,” hence there was “insufficient evidence of his guilt.”
Furthermore, Exum claimed that the court erred in applying aggravating elements, making the 20-year sentence disproportionate.
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