Saturday, August 18, 2007

More Arrests Made In Newark Execution Slayings

Authorities arrested two more suspects Saturday in the slayings of three college students who were shot execution-style in a schoolyard, bringing the total number of arrests in the case to five.

The two additional suspects were found in suburban Washington, police said. A spokesman for the mayor of Newark, where the killings occurred, said the pair were brothers.

Deputy U.S. Marshal Bill Sorukas declined to discuss what led authorities to Rodolfo Godinez, a 24-year-old Nicaraguan immigrant, and an unidentified 16-year-old.

Godinez was arrested in Prince George's County, Md. The teenager was arrested in the Woodbridge, Va., area. Both were awaiting extradition to New Jersey, Sorukas said.

They were wanted in connection with the Aug. 4 slayings in which the victims were forced to kneel in front of a wall behind an elementary school and shot in the back of the head.

Authorities have said robbery appeared to be the motive.

Killed in the attack were Terrance Aeriel, 18; Dashon Harvey, 20, and Iofemi Hightower, 20. Aeriel's sister, Natasha, was shot in the head but survived and has helped police in the investigation.
Godinez isn't just a Nicaraguan immigrant, but an illegal alien who should have been deported more than a decade ago and no one could ever discern his immigration status despite repeated run-ins with law enforcement since then. The Star Ledger reports that the 16-year old arrested with Godinez is his brother.
Godinez, who has been described as a "principal player" in the schoolyard killings, was arrested at around 1 a.m. at an apartment in Oxon Hill, Md., Prince Georges County, said U.S. Marshal James Plousis.

Eight other people were in the apartment at the time of the arrest, Plousis said, and Godinez knew at least some of them.

Acting on information they received at the apartment, authorities then arrested the 16-year-old in Woodbridge, Va., several miles away. The teen is now being held at a juvenile facility in Prince William County, Va., Plousis said.

Plousis said the arrests were made "without incident. There was no struggle."

"We were following leads and information and tips," he said. "We were really lucky it panned out. We had informants up here...and from that region who gave us information. We followed other leads. One of the tipsters gave us some solid information."
Expect Godinez and his brother to be extradited to New Jersey shortly to face multiple charges in the triple homicide.

One person is still being sought.

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