The fatal shooting of the 22-year-old victim occurred outside an Irvington NJ club in 2004. The victim got into an argument with one of the defendants inside Club Makossa.
After a security guard escorted the defendant outside the club, he waited for the victim to leave as well. When the victim later left the establishment with his brother and his cousin, the men encountered the defendants. The defendants then opened fire on the victim, hitting him six times in an execution-style shooting.
The defendants were convicted in the shooting death and sentenced in 2007. One of the defendants got 40 years in NJ State Prison, while the other defendant was sentenced to life in NJ State Prison.
Both of the defendants, who used to live in Irvington, were convicted primarily on the testimony of the victim’s brother and cousin.
The defendants later appealed their conviction because a third man came forward three years after the trial and claimed that the prosecution witnesses did not actually see the shooters. However, the third man, identified in court documents as “Q,” was not used by defense attorneys during the trial.
The defendants argued that they received ineffective legal assistance because their attorneys should have investigated the witness at an earlier date and potentially used him at trial. The appellate court ultimately rejected that argument; they affirmed the lower court’s ruling. According to the appellate judges, the defense attorneys had no reason to believe that the additional witness’ testimony would exonerate their clients.
The appellate judges also noted that other trial witnesses corroborated the identity of the shooters.
For additional information about this case, check out the NJ.com article entitled “N.J. Men Lose Appeal in 2004 Execution-Style Slaying Outside Irvington Nightclub.”