The widow of a young New Jersey attorney who was killed in a carjacking at the Short Hills mall in 2013 testified Wednesday about the sudden ambush and the harrowing wait for help as she watched her husband bleed.
Jamie Friedland gave the emotional testimony at the trial of the alleged getaway driver, Basim Henry, who already confessed to police his involvement in the December 2013 shooting, according to prosecutors. The accused gunman's trial has not yet started.
Surveillance photos presented during the trial showed the couple walking hand-in-hand inside the mall that day. As they walked back to their SUV, Friedland recalled: "I looked at Dustin and said, 'What a great productive day we just had. We finally got to celebrate our anniversary and the purchase of our new condo.' It actually was a good day till the end."
Friedland went on to describe getting in the car, then hearing her husband's muffled voice outside. She turned to see him outside the rear window, talking to two men, one on each side of him.
"I saw the struggle, I saw the taller man... I saw him put the gun to Dustin's head," Jamie Schare Friedland said in tears as she described the sound of the gunshots.
"He opens the car door, he leans in and he points the gun at my head and said, 'Get out of the [expletive] car, [expletive],'" Jamie testified.
After the men sped off in her Range Rover and the getaway car, Jamie rushed to her husband, lying in a pool of blood.
"I was screaming, 'Stay with me, stay with me.' You don't even know what to do in situations like that. And I see his eyes, and he's looking at me, and he's gasping for breath," Jamie cried, recalling how she couldn't get her new phone to work.
Eventually, someone came over with a walkie-talkie and called 911.
The assailants drove off in the Range Rover, which was found the next morning in Newark, about 10 miles from Short Hills. Prosecutors have said the couple was targeted solely because of the make of their vehicle.
Jamie Friedland, who wasn't hurt in the attack, filed a wrongful death lawsuit against the malls owner in 2014, claiming they reduced security to increase profits and first responders mishandled a call for help, allegations those parties have denied.
Hanif Thompson, of Irvington, and Newark residents Karif Ford, Basim Henry and Kevin Roberts have pleaded not guilty to felony murder and other charges in connection with the carjacking.
Jamie and Dustin Friedland met at Syracuse Law School and married two years before he was killed. The couple lived in Hoboken at the time.
Dustin Friedland grew up in Toms River, and graduated in 2002 from Toms River North High School, where he was an accomplished swimmer, rower and Eagle Scout.