Suspect in JC couple’s slaying pleads not guilty to five murders
A 19-year-old Jersey City man, who along with two women was charged in the murder of a recently engaged couple in front of their home, was also charged in three more murders that took place this year.
Shiquan Bellamy, 19, of Arlington Avenue, along with Darmelia Lawrence of Woodlawn Avenue and Latonia Bellamy, also both 19, was charged in the brutal shootings of Nia Haqq, 25, and Michael Muchioki, 27, on April 4 after the pair returned to their Randolph Avenue home following their engagement party.
County Prosecutor Edward DeFazio said Bellamy is charged additionally in the murders on Feb. 2 of cousins Mileak Richardson and Lester “Bleek” Thompson, and the March 27 murder of Lamonte Wright.
DeFazio said Bellamy allegedly had accomplices in the Feb. 2 murders but allegedly acted alone in the Mar. 27 murder.
DeFazio said that his alleged accomplices in the Feb. 2 murders, Hakeem “Hak” Lester and Ronald “Diddy” Lawrence (brother of Darmelia Lawrence), have already been arrested.
Bellamy’s bail was set at $6 million, $2 million for each alleged murder.
DeFazio said it was forensic evidence from Haqq’s vehicle that led to investigators to connect Bellamy to the other murders. DeFazio also said the investigation is ongoing.
Shiquan Bellamy pleaded not guilty last week to all five murders.
Anyone with information about the murders of the couple as well as other murders connected to Bellamy can call the Hudson County Prosecutor’s Homicide Squad at (201) 915-1345.
Undersheriff Schillari reinstated after being fired by political rival
Frank Schillari, the Hudson County Democratic Organization-backed candidate in the upcoming race for sheriff, was reinstated as undersheriff Monday morning following his abrupt dismissal last month.
Last month, his boss and chief rival in the political race, current Hudson County Sheriff Juan Perez, fired Schillari, claiming that he was "not in compliance with the requirements of the sacred trust of the office and for a period of time has undermined my authority."
A spokesman for the undersheriff fired back that Schillari's dismissal was "illegal."
Perez promoted his brother-in-law, Robert Lamboy, to the undersheriff's post, though the promotion was later rescinded after Perez received bad publicity for the move, sources said.
Perez, who had won as a Democrat for Hudson County Sheriff seat in 2007, has been frustrated ever since Hudson County Democrats decided to back Schillari over him in the June party primary. Perez has since switched his party affiliation to Republican and will try to run on the Hudson County GOP line.
On Friday, a spokesman for Schillari said: “Reinstating Frank Schillari doesn’t change the fact that his firing was a political hatchet job and that his civil rights were violated. Sheriff Perez … should be held accountable for that. Perez should just let Frank and the other officers and staff do their jobs and leave politics out of it.”
NJ Transit fares going up, but some good news
Last week, NJ Transit’s board of directors approved fare increases and service cuts throughout the system. However, some increases that had been planned were scaled back.
Rail fares will go up by 25 percent, while bus and light rail fares will see a 10 percent increase.
The cuts and fare hikes are part of the transit agency’s plan to close a $300 million deficit. About 200 transit employees also will be terminated under the budget-cutting measure.
The changes, which will take effect on May 1, will generate about $140 million in revenue, according to a statement from NJ Transit.
Volunteer Expo coming to Loew’s
In observance of National Volunteer Week, Friends of The Loew’s will host the second annual Hudson County Volunteer Expo on Wednesday, April 21, from noon to 8 p.m. The location is the magnificent lobby of the Landmark Loew’s Jersey Theatre, 54 Journal Square, Jersey City, across Kennedy Boulevard from the Journal Square PATH and Bus Terminal.
Representatives from dozens of Hudson County non-profit organizations in need of assistance will be there. Attendees to this free event will be able to explore hundreds of local short- and long-term Volunteer, Internship and Community Service opportunities.
For more information, email firstname.lastname@example.org or call (201) 668-0546.
NJCU turns 80
As part of its two-year 80th Anniversary Celebration, New Jersey City University will hold “Birthday Bash and Reunion Week,” a series of campus events that includes concerts, exhibits, panel discussions, lectures, and open houses, April 17-25. A highlight of the week’s festivities will be NJCU’s “Birthday Bash and Reunion” on Saturday, April 24.
During the week, the University will hold an “Around the Campus in 80 Years” contest. Participants will have “passports” and will receive stickers each time they visit a campus location or attend a campus event. Prizes will be awarded to those with the most stickers at the end of the week.
NJCU is also holding an online 80th Anniversary Silent Auction featuring art, books, collectibles, attorney services, and a vacation rental to benefit scholarships awarded by the NJCU Foundation, Inc. To view and bid on Auction works, click on “80th Anniversary Auction” at www.njcu.edu. Bidding will be open through 9:30 p.m. on Saturday, April 24; winners will be notified via e-mail later that evening.
For further information, call (201) 200-3426.
Supermarket coming to Bergen Hill
Jersey City will receive a part of Horizon BCBSNJ’s $1 million investment in New Jersey communities through the New Jersey Department of Community Affairs’ (DCA) Neighborhood Revitalization Tax Credit (NRTC) Program. Through the NRCT program, Horizon is investing $150,000 that will be used toward construction of a ground floor supermarket on Monticello Avenue in Jersey City’s Bergen Hill neighborhood.
The supermarket is part of a five-story, mixed-use building to be constructed by a private developer. Also, the money will go toward a job bank and information clearinghouse will be established by the Jersey City-based non-profit WomenRising at a separate location to benefit local residents.
Fundraiser to be held for Autism Awareness
Hudson County Community College’s Beta Alpha Phi chapter of the Phi Theta Kappa International Honor Society will hold a luncheon, “Raise Your Fork Against Autism,” on April 24 from 1 p.m. to 3 p.m. at 161 Newkirk St. in the College’s Culinary Arts Institute/Conference Center. New Jersey has the highest autism rate in the country.
All proceeds will benefit the nonprofit organization, Autism New Jersey. Founded in 1965, the organization provides several services, awareness building, and community outreach partnerships.
For more information on Beta Alpha Phi’s “Raise Your Fork Against Autism Luncheon” and to secure tickets, please contact the Hudson County Community College Foundation office at (201) 360-4006 or email Dr. Lloyd Kahn at email@example.com.