An Atlantic City man plead guilty to aggravated manslaughter for his part in an armed robbery that resulted in the death of a gas station owner in 2007, Attorney General Jeffrey S. Chiesa announced Friday afternoon, Oct. 12.
Darrick Hudson, 22, of Atlantic City, plead guilty to aggravated manslaughter, robbery, and hindering apprehension or prosecution, Chiesa said. Hudson was about to go to trial, according to Chiesa.
As part of the plea agreement, the state will recommend a sentence of 25 years in state prison, including 21 years of parole ineligibility under the No Early Release Act, Chiesa said. Sentencing will take place Nov. 16, Chiesa said.
On Oct. 15, 2010, Nasir Salaam, 22, of Galloway Township, was sentenced to 40 years in state prison, including 30 years without possibility of parole, Chiesa said. He plead guilty to felony murder in August of that year as he was about to go to trial for a second time, Chiesa said. He had already been convicted at trial in May, 2009 of charges related to the robbery, as well as conspiracy to distribute cocaine, but the jury failed to reach a verdict on the felony murder charge, according to Chiesa.
Salaam, Hudson and Basir Biggins, 22, of Atlantic City, were all teenagers when they committed armed robbery of the AAR gas station and mini-mart on the White Horse Pike in Atlantic City on March 9, 2007, Chiesa said. AAR owner Makhan Singh, 47, was fatally shot, Chiesa said. Tanzi Zepa, an attedant, was wounded, Chiesa said.
Salaam admitted that he used one of the handguns to demand money from two of attendants in the gas station while Hudson and another defendant were in the mini-mart robbing Singh at gunpoint, Chiesa said. After hearing gunfire in the mini-mart, Salaam admitted he shot and wounded Zepa, who was tryung to flee, Chiesa said. Salaam also admitted to firing two shots at the mini-mart, Chiesa said.
According to Hudson, the reckless use of the gun by a co-defendant resulted in Singh's death, but he also admitted to picking up the gun after the co-defendant dropped it so it couldn't be recovered and used as evidence, Chiesa said.
Biggins plead guilty on Dec. 22, 2008 to three counts of first-degree robbery in connection with the incident, Chiesa said. Biggins admitted to providing one of the guns used in the robbery, and was sentenced to 12 years in prison, including 10 years parole ineligibility, in 2010, Chiesa said.
Two other teenagers, Gina McCrosson and Tyler Hart, drove them to the gas station, Chiesa said. They plead guilty in January, 2009 to conspiracy to possess cocaine and hindering apprehension, in exchange for recommended sentences of eight years in prison, Chiesa said. Hart was sentenced on March 26, 2010, while McCrosson awaits sentencing, Chiesa said.
Deputy Attorney General Kerry DiJoseph took Hudson's guilty plea for the Division of Criminal Justice, Chiesa said. The case was investigated by the Atlantic City Police Department, Atlantic County Prosecutor’s Office and Division of Criminal Justice, according to Chiesa.
“This accomplice faces a sentence of at least 21 years in prison without parole for his role in this senseless murder,” Chiesa said in a release. “I commend the officers, investigators and attorneys who have steadfastly pursued justice in this case.”
“This guilty plea and the prior successful prosecutions of four co-defendants are a testament to the outstanding teamwork of members of the Division of Criminal Justice, Atlantic City Police Department and Atlantic County Prosecutor’s Office,” Director of the Division of Criminal Justice Stephen J. Taylor said.