State v. R.P.

Murder trial and unlawful possession of weapon trial: NOT GUILTY

The defendant was wrongfully accused of killing a 42-year-old dishwasher who had just gotten off work from a restaurant in Newark’s Ironbound neighborhood.

“They were exposed to life in prison, conspiracy to commit robbery, conspiracy to commit murder, that’s 30 to life,” defense attorney Brooke Barnett said in an animated closing, in which she compared the case to the Salem witch trials. “Innocent people were convicted and sentenced to death, had their names dragged through the mud, all as a result of the human tongue. Today, right here in Newark, we are living in a time of hysteria with stories told by convicted felons all to save their own asses.”

Barnett argued that in the three-week trial there was no forensic evidence linking the defendant to the scene and criticized the investigation, which she called a rush to judgment. She questioned why cell phone records weren’t pulled from the co-defendants and why the bag in which the murder weapon was found was not tested for DNA.

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