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6th defendant in N.J. killings sentenced

NEWARK — The last of six defendants convicted in a notorious schoolyard triple murder was sentenced Wednesday to 195 years in prison, closing one chapter on a crime whose savagery made national headlines and spurred numerous anticrime measures in New Jersey’s largest city.

What happened behind the Mount Vernon School on the night of Aug. 4, 2007, was ‘‘evil incarnate,’’ state Superior Court Judge Michael L. Ravin told the gallery as he sentenced Gerardo Gomez to three consecutive terms of 60 years each on three murder counts and 15 more years on an attempted murder count.

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Gomez, who turned 15 on the night of the murders, was one of six men and boys with ties to the MS-13 street gang who pleaded guilty to or were convicted of the crimes. Four other defendants are serving multiple consecutive life sentences, and a fifth received 30 years in exchange for his testimony.

‘‘This is a very important day to remember what was taken from us,’’ Essex County prosecutor Carolyn Murray said. ‘‘These were good kids who were headed to bright futures, young people who proved you can grow up in Newark and go on to do great things for our community.’’

The victims — Iofemi Hightower, Terrance ‘‘T.J.’’ Aeriel, Dashon Harvey, and a fourth friend who survived the attack — were enrolled or were about to enroll at Delaware State University.


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