4 arrested in killing of South Jersey coach in front of kids
MILLVILLE — Four people have been charged in the killing of a youth coach, a crime that the Cumberland County Prosecutor called "particularly unsettling."
Joseph Jones was shot dead on August 9 in the parking lot of Lakeside Middle School during a youth football practice. The killers fled the scene.
On Thursday, Cumberland County Prosecutor Jennifer Webb-McRae announced two people have been charged in Jones' death, while two others were charged with protecting the accused killers.
Eugene Cosby, 42, from the Malaga section of Franklin in Gloucester County, and Will El-Bey, 22, of Vineland, have been charged with homicide and conspiracy to commit homicide, Webb-McRae said.
According to the criminal complaints against Cosby and El-Bey, they are charged with soliciting a person to cause Jones' death and conspiring with others to commit the homicide.
Webb-McRae did not provide information about who the car belonged to, or what relationship the four people involved have with each other or with Jones.
Genea Hughes-Lee, 34, of Malaga, and Tyrell Hart, 22, of Vineland, were charged with conspiracy to hinder apprehension, hindering apprehension, obstruction and two counts of making false reports to law enforcement.
A criminal complaint against Hart and Hughes-Lee claims they provided investigators with a false statement in order to conceal the involvement of the people who killed Jones. They are also charged with providing false statements in order to hinder the arrests of the others involved. Hart also accepted "a benefit" for providing police with false information, according to the complaint. Hughes-Lee is also charged with tampering with witnesses and informants, according to the criminal complaint.
"This homicide was particularly unsettling because it was committed in broad daylight at a football practice in front of numerous children," Webb-McRae said. "It is my hope that these arrests assure the victim's family, the children and parents of the Millville Midget Football League and the greater community that law enforcement will do all in its power to bring those we allege are responsible to justice."
In an emotional essay posted on NJ1015.com in August, Webb-McRae said the shooting was one of two events over the summer that "deeply moved and shocked me." The other was the fatal shooting of a 9-year-old girl in her Bridgeton bedroom in July.
"I know that some are saying that Cumberland County is a "war zone and they don't wish to live here anymore. To that I would say, I could have chosen to live anywhere and prospered but I chose to return here and raise a family because of all the great things and people Cumberland County has to offer," she said. "I will not let criminals hold my community hostage."
Earlier this month, Webb-McRae shared a picture of the car involved in Jones' killing. As the car fled the scene, at least one person fired several shots at police officers in the area, Webb-McRae said. The officers were not injured and they did not return fire, she said at the time.
Webb-McRae encouraged anyone with information about the case to call Lt. George Chopek at 609-391-2046.
New Jersey 101.5 did not know as of Thursday afternoon whether any of the defendants had attorneys who could speak on their behalf.