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Saturday, 19 September 2009

Jaquan Bell, 16,an alleged Bloods gang member on charges of gunning down another teenager in the parking lot of Skate 22

10:06 |

grand jury has indicted an alleged Bloods gang member on charges of gunning down another teenager in the parking lot of Skate 22, a Union Township roller rink. Jaquan Bell, 16, was indicted late Wednesday and will be charged as an adult. He faces up to life in prison if convicted of the murder of Jean D'haiti, also 16, at the rink's Christmas night skating party last year, according to the Union County Prosecutor's Office. Bell is charged with murder and weapons possession.Police pulled him out of his school class and arrested him on March 4. Authorities would not identify the school, but Bell's attorney, Michael Robbins, said his client and D'haiti were former classmates at Elizabeth High School. Bail was set at $400,000, and Bell continues to be held at the Juvenile Detention Center in Union County.
Several fist-fights broke out inside Skate 22 leading up to the shooting, which occurred around 12:30 a.m. on Dec. 26, authorities said. Nearly 700 people were attending a heavily-promoted Christmas party there, which ended early when organizers escorted out some unruly party-goers. Outside the rink, authorities say a group of Haitian youths chased a group of alleged Bloods gang members to the parking lot. The prosecutor's office has not said whether D'haiti was one of the youths who did the chasing. Among those fleeing was Bell, who authorities identified as a Bloods gang member. As he ran, Bell whirled around and fired several shots, one of which struck D'haiti, prosecutors said. He died at the scene. D'haiti's family and friends have described him as a diligent student who enjoyed dancing, aspired to be a model and had no gang associations. His aunt, Yvelouse Tannis, has said she is pleased Bell will be tried as an adult. "It's not going to bring anybody back, but at least justice will be served," she said.Bell's attorney disputes authorities' account of the shooting, contending the larger group of Haitian youths was armed with weapons -- including a baseball bat, machete and semi-automatic handgun -- and entered the skating rink intent on "causing trouble" for his client's smaller group.
He said D'haiti was likely shot in the "crossfire" between the two groups, adding it would have been impossible for Bell to have shot D'haiti in the back of the head while fleeing from the Haitian youths."He got shot by his own friend, is what happened," Robbins said yesterday, adding that shell casings were found at the scene from the semi-automatic handgun carried by one of the Haitian youths. While Robbins has denied his client's group, called the "Dipset," is affiliated with the Bloods, authorities maintained Bell's group was known as the "Dipset" but was still part of the Bloods gang.Robbins, who is also defending one of the suspects charged in the Newark school yard slayings, said he is confident Bell will be acquitted. In response, Union County Prosecutor Theodore Romankow said yesterday, "the indictment speaks for itself. The case will be tried in court, not in the press."

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