2nd Defendant in Newark Schoolyard Slayings Pleads Guilty

Cops plea to three counts of murder two days before trial set to begin

Tuesday, Sep 21, 2010  |  Updated 1:01 PM EDT
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2nd Defendant in Newark Schoolyard Slayings Pleads Guilty

Essex County Sheriff's Department

Melvin Jovel

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The second defendant in the gruesome execution-style slayings of three college friends at a Newark schoolyard pleaded guilty just two days before he was set to begin trial, according to a published report.

Melvin Joyce, one of six suspects in the horrific murders that once captured front pages for weeks, accepted the guilty plea to three counts of murder Tuesday morning, reports The Star-Ledger. A fourth victim, Natasha Aerial, was shot in the head but survived the attack. She testified in grisly detail of her ordeal earlier this spring.  

In addition to the murder pleas, Jovel, a Newark native, pleaded guilty to one count of attempted murder in the case of Aerial, as well as various weapons charges, the Star-Ledger reports.

He faces up to life in prison. A jury found Rodolfo Godinez, the first defendant to stand trial for the slaughters, guilty in late Mary. He was sentenced to 245 years behind bars. The other four men charged in connection with the killings remain behind bars because one of them, Jose Carranza, has refused to speak about the murders and thus all must be tried separately.
 

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