The New York Criminal Law Blog

Three Men Indicted for AC Carjacking, Murder

A trio of young men were indicted on 23 counts each for a carjacking, murder, and aggravated assault that occurred in September, 2011, reports the Gloucester County Times.

Phillip L. Byrd, 21, Eric S. Darden, 20, and Raheem D. Simmons, 18, all of Camden, are alleged to have carjacked a couple at the Trump Taj Mahal parking garage. They then forced the victims to drive to Warren Webb Sr. Drive and shot them both. Sunil Rattu, 28, died from his wounds, while his girlfriend, Radha Ghetia, 24, survived.

The victims were found in their vehicle by the Atlantic City police after someone contacted 911.

The crime of felony murder, which is one of the laundry list of charges that they are facing, is where someone other than the coconspirators dies during the commission of a felony. The purpose of this law is to allow all of the coconspirators to be charged for the death when only one of them pulls a trigger.

For example, if two people decide to rob a liquor store and one of them decides to shoot the cashier for not including Tropical Fruit Skittles with the bag of money, the second will also be subject to murder charges. Their agreed-upon illegal and dangerous activity is what placed the victims in harm's way and they are all held responsible under the law.

Felony murder is an alternative to murder for charging purposes. A person cannot be convicted of both murder and felony murder for the same death, as they require proof of almost the exact same elements and to do so would be punishing someone twice for the exact same crime.

The Camden Trio are also facing charges for murder, kidnapping, carjacking, armed robbery, aggravated assault, conspiracy, and weapons charges, amongst others.

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