Final Defendant In Newark Schoolyard Attacks Gets Life

By Monica Miller, WBGO News
Newark. January 9, 2013

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Essex County Prosecutor's Office

The sixth and final defendant in the Newark schoolyard attacks that killed three college-bound friends and left a fourth seriously wounded gets life in prison.

A tearful 20-year-old Gerardo Gomez has received almost 200 years in prison for his role in the 2007 murders of Iofemi Hightower, Dashon Harvey, Terrance Aeriel … and a fourth victim who was raped and shot, but survived and later testified.

After giving an emotional speech in court, Shalga Hightower says the final chapter over the five year ordeal gives her some closure.

“I can finally exhale and move forward to a new level, a new destiny that God has planned for me.”

Essex County Assistant Prosecutor Romesh Sukhdeo says these are some of the worst crimes in recent history his office has faced. The six defendants were either found guilty or made a plea deal.

“Our preliminary research is this is probably the first thousand year indictment in our county’s history." 

He says it’s never good to send young people away.

“But in a crime of this nature, this horrendous and gut-wrenching and horrible nature of a crime, these numbers are appropriate."

A multi-million dollar civil case is expected to begin next week on whether the state-run school district is responsible.


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