Bridgeton teen convicted of reckless manslaughter
A Bridgeton teen who escaped a juvenile facility last year was found guilty of reckless manslaughter in a deadly drug deal. Michael Huggins, now 19, testified at his trial that he shot Devante Lee in self-defense on Oct. 7, 2016. It seems that may have impacted the jury’s decision, as they found him not guilty on the original charges of murder, robbery and felony murder. “Michael, unfortunately, was involved in drugs and selling them,” defense attorney James Gerrow told BreakingAC. “He was in fear for his life and, unfortunately, took a life.” Jurors also found Huggins guilty of weapon possession — although not guilty for possession of a weapon for an unlawful purpose. The state will argue for 10 years on that charge at his sentencing, Cumberland County Prosecutor Jennifer Webb-McRae said in a press release. But that charge is expected to be dropped by Superior Court Judge Robert Malestein at sentencing, Gerrow said. Jurors found Huggins possessed the gun at his residence where the fatal shooting happened, but nowhere else. State statute allows for possession on your own property, Gerrow said. Huggins already was charged as an adult when he and three others escaped the Harborfields Juvenile Detention Center in Egg Harbor City on Nov. 15, 2017, and allegedly stole a car and a rifle. The three others — who were all from Atlantic County — were found in Bridgeton. The Cumberland County teen was found later in Atlantic City. He had a long bruise to his right eye in his mugshot at the time, which Gerrow attributed to police. State Police who made the arrest charged him with resisting. Huggins had a scheduled Atlantic County appearance in that case Tuesday, but it was postponed since the jury was still out in the murder case. Huggins faces as many as 10 years in prison on the reckless manslaughter charge when he is sentenced Feb. 22. He would have to serve a mandatory 85 percent before parole eligibility under the No Early Release Act.
Accused killer who escaped juvenile detention now in county jail
The accused murderer who escaped from a juvenile detention center with three others is now in the Atlantic County Justice Facility. And the prosecutor is looking to keep him there. Read more...