Trial Begins in Newark Execution-Style Schoolyard Killings

Wednesday, Apr 28, 2010  |  Updated 4:03 PM EDT
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Trial Begins in Newark Execution-Style Schoolyard Killings

Rodolfo Godinez

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The prosecution has begun its opening statement in the first trial stemming from the execution-style murders of three friends in a Newark schoolyard.

Rodolfo Godinez is the first of six defendants to go to trial in the killings of Dashon Harvey, Iofemi Hightower and Terrance Aeriel in 2007.

A fourth victim survived the attack and is expected to testify.  Essex County Assistant Prosecutor Thomas McTigue told jurors Tuesday that they will hear from the victim about the details of the attack.

A jury of six men and six women are hearing the case.

Prosecutors claim the defendants attacked some of the victims with a machete before shooting them execution-style.  Investigators said the suspects are affiliated with the brutal Salvadoran gang MS-13.

The crime brought national attention to Newark's violence problem and led to numerous measures that have been credited with helping lower the crime rate in New Jersey's largest city.

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