ELIZABETH – Jurors convicted a 36-year-old Elizabeth man Monday in a 2007 shooting outside a First Street bar, authorities said.
Awan Smith faces 30 years to life in prison for the murder of 24-year-old Omar Kennedy, also of Elizabeth, Union County Prosecutor Theodore J. Romankow said.
It took just two hours for jurors to find Smith guilty of first degree murder and weapons offenses following a three-week trial, according to Assistant Prosecutor Caroline Lawlor, who prosecuted the case.
Kennedy allegedly cut Smith’s cheek with a knife during an argument several months before the shooting, Lawlor said. On Dec. 9, 2007, Smith left Grady’s Bar on First Street after hearing that Kennedy was outside. He shot Kennedy with a sawed-off shotgun once in the abdomen and once in the arm; Kennedy died at University Hospital several hours after the shooting.
Detective Jorge Jimenez of the Union County Homicide Task Force and Elizabeth Police Det. David DeRosa tracked Smith to Baltimore through telephone records and arrested the man in June 2008, said Lawlor.
Smith is scheduled to be sentenced on Oct. 23.
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