Gang Member Gets 94 Years For Elizabeth Murders

ELIZABETH –Edariel “Riddicc” Melendez was sentenced to 94 years in state prison for two separate 2007 homicides that occurred in Elizabeth.

Melendez, 21, of Elizabeth was convicted on June 15 for the Nov. 12, 2007 shooting of 13-year-old Elijah Henderson and the Nov. 14, 2007 shooting of 54-year-old Celso Pedra.


According to the investigation, Melendez participated in the shooting of Henderson as the teenager rode his bike on the 200 block of Fulton Street in the early morning hours of Nov. 12, 2007 with friends. Another teen was injured in the shooting and a third escaped without injury.

Melendez, a member of the Crips street gang, was also accused of participating in the Nov. 14 shooting death of Celso Pedra, 54, of Fulton Street in Elizabeth.

“We believe that in both cases, the deaths were a result of mistaken identity.” Union County Prosecutor Theodore J. Romankow said. “The defendant was seeking retaliation against rival gang members for murder of Rahshad Thomas.”

Thomas, a member of the Crips known as “Twin,” was killed at Ella’s Lounge in Elizabeth on Nov. 11, 2007.

“Innocent people died because of Melendez,” said Romankow. “Now, he’ll be going to a place where he won’t be a danger to the public anymore.”

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