Willingboro shooting defendant sentenced, risks deportation
The Willingboro man who admitted shooting a victim to death in a township park in 2014 is given a prison term nearly as long as he has been alive, and might face deportation when it's done.
In Mount Holly, Abdullah H. Sheriff, 22, was sentenced to 21 years, and ordered to serve nearly 18 years before parole consideration, under terms of New Jersey's No Early Release Law, according to the office of Burlington County Prosecutor Scott A. Coffina.
Sheriff, a native of Liberia, pleaded guilty to aggravated manslaughter for the death of Abenego Wesseh, 21, on March 25, 2014, in Fairmount Park. He has been in the Burlington County Jail since his arrest, two days after the shooting.
At the time, authorities said, Sheriff was a Willingboro High School senior, and Wesseh, of Williamstown, was a friend.. Information provided by authorities included no motive, but said that Wesseh's body was found on a paved path in a patch of woods in the park, the day after the shooting.
"This was a calculated, depraved killing, made even more galling by the betrayal by a friend whom Abenego trusted," Coffina said in a prepared statement.
"The defendant certainly will be deported after serving his sentence and Burlington County will face no further risk from him. Our hearts and prayers are with the Wesseh family on this difficult day."
The autopsy by Burlington County Medical Examiner Dr. Ian Hood ruled the cause of death to be a gunshot wound to the head. Investigators recovered the gun.
Willingboro police, led by Detective Sergeant Amber Ciccanti, and Burlington County investigators, directed by Detective Sergeant John Thompson, conducted the probe with the Camden County Police Department and Sheriff's Office, and New Jersey State Police. .
Burlington County Assistand Prosecutor Michael Angermeier presented the state's case.