NEWARK, NJ (AP) — A man has been sentenced to 375 years in prison for the 2016 murder of three people, including two children, in New Jersey’s largest city that authorities say apparently stemmed from his anger over to a Facebook post.
Essex County jurors deliberated for less than two hours last month before convicting Jeremy Arrington, 31, of three counts of murder and attempted murder as well as burglary, criminal restraint and weapons.
On Friday, Judge Ronald Wigler imposed three consecutive life sentences for the murders as well as consecutive sentences for other counts, telling the defendant he had committed “perhaps the most horrific murders, hateful, cruel and depraved that this county has ever seen”.
Prosecutors said Arrington entered a Newark home in November 2016, tied up people inside and stabbed them with kitchen knives, killing 8-year-old Aerial Little Whitehurst and Al-Jahon Whitehurst, 11 years old, then shot and killed 23 years old. former student Syasia McBurroughs, who was visiting the family.
A 29-year-old woman, a 13-year-old boy and a 13-year-old girl were injured. Prosecutors said a young girl with autism was able to escape and called for help from a closet, allowing police to intervene before more lives were lost.
Authorities said Arrington was apparently angry that one of the victims reposted a Facebook alert from police naming him a suspect in an earlier shooting and sexual assault.
In addition to the three life sentences, the judge imposed consecutive sentences of 50 years for each of the three attempted murder convictions, prosecutors said. A life sentence under New Jersey law is 75 years, and a defendant must serve 63 years and nine months before being eligible for parole. Under the law, prosecutors said, Arrington would not be eligible for parole until he had served 281 years of his 375-year sentence.
Arrington, who did not take the stand during his trial, read a short statement during Friday’s sentencing hearing apologizing to the families. He described his actions as “crazy and unwarranted” and said he would switch places with the victims if he could, NJ.com reported.
The defense attempted to use an insanity defense at trial, but this was rejected by the judge because the defense attorney was unable to find an expert witness to testify that Arrington did not could not be held criminally responsible for his actions because of his mental state, NJ. com reported.
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