AC Expressway shootout suspects charged with attempted murder
Lengthy indictments against three suspects tied to last summer's rolling shootout on the Atlantic City Expressway and Garden State Parkway bring the number now facing the prospect of trials to six.
Anthony Hicks, Wilbert Demonsthenes and Devan Leggette are subject to 15 counts returned by a grand jury today, the most serious being first-degree attempted murder, according to Atlantic County Prosecutor Damon G. Tyner.
The three are also charged with a first-degree count of conspiracy to commit murder, four first-degree charges gang criminality, plus one each in the second- and third-degrees; second-degree charges of aggravated assault with serious bodily injury and conspiracy, third-degree counts of aggravated assault with a deadly weapon and conspiracy, two second-degree weapons charges, and one in the fourth degree.
In addition to the substantive charges, they also face six counts of gang criminality, for acting on behalf of the South Side Mob.
On June 21, Yahshaun Stukes-Williams, Shaun Stukes and Lenardo Caro were jointly indicted on nine counts, consisting of three second-degree handgun-possession charges, second-degree counts of conspiracy to unlawfully possess a handgun, unlawful possession of an assault firearm and conspiracy, fourth-degree possession of a defaced firearm, and two first-degree charges of conspiring with a juvenile to commit a crime.
Stukes-Williams is also charged with two first-degree counts of gang criminaltiy, for allegedly acting on behalf of the Head Shot Gang. Stukes is charged with second-degree certain persons not to possess firearms.
Gunfire erupted on the eastbound Atlantic City Expressway. near mile marker 11.2, at about 3 PM on August 29, 2016, according to investigators. When it was over, one individual, Rosemond Octavius, was dead, and five others were hit by bullets.
Hicks was the driver of a gold Nissan Maxima, Leggette was behind the hweel of a black Dodge Ram pickup, and Stukes-Williams drove a white Ford Expedition SUV, authorities said. Octavius was the front-seat passenger in the Nissan, Demosthenes rode in the Dodge, and the Expedition carried Stukes in front, with Caro and a juvenile in the rear seat, authorities said.
Investigators said the spray of bullets had its origins in a court house rest room, in a fight involving Leggette and Stukes-Williams. Outside in the parking lot, Stukes-Williams and the minor saw a group of males standing near his vehicle. Stukes and Caro drove to the court house to collect Stukes-Williams and the juvenile, authorities said.
The occupants of the Expedition saw the Maxima and the pickup closing in as they approached the toll entrance to the easbound Expressway, investigators said. They allege that once on the highway, bullets began flying between the Nissan and the Expedition, and shortly afterward, gunfire aimed at the Expedition erupted from the pickup.
Octavius died, Stukes-Williams was grazed in the head, and Stukes, Caro and the minor each took a bullet in the leg, detectives said.
The Expedition took Exit 9 off the highway, heading for Egg Harbor Township on Delilah Road, and pausing on at Carmen Avenue to toss four guns, eventually stopping at a Wawa, on Tilton Road, authorities siad. The Maxima allegedly left the Expressway on Exit 7N, on to the northbound Parkway and stopped near mile marker 37.9.
An off-duty cop followed the Ram from the Expressway at Exit 5 on to Woodland Avenue in Pleasantville, then lost sight of it. The truck was found on August 30, next to a house on East Oakland Avenue in Pleasantville.
New Jersey State Police led the investigation, assisted by the Atlantic County Prosecutor's and Sheriff's offices, and police of Egg Harbor Township, Pleasantville and Atlantic City.
Charges are accusations. Defendants are presumed innocent unless, and until, found guilty in a court of law.