Teen Pleads Guilty To 2008 Union Twp. Skate Rink Shooting

ELIZABETH — The teen charged in the Dec. 26, 2008 shooting death of Jean D’Haiti outside of Skate 22 in Union Township pleaded guilty in Superior Court Monday, Union County Prosecutor Theodore J. Romankow announced.

Jaquan Bell, 18, faces 10 years in prison when he is sentenced for manslaughter on Oct. 14, said Romankow.

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Nearly 700 people had gathered at Skate 22 for a Christmas night party that was heavily promoted on websites like Myspace, said Romankow. The party, which drew people between the ages of 13 and 25, was scheduled to go from 8:30 p.m. to 1:30 a.m. but ended early due to numerous fights that broke out inside the rink, the prosecutor said.

According to the investigation, around midnight a fight between two groups of teenagers escalated, shots were fired and D’Haiti, 16, of Elizabeth was struck and died at the scene at 12:29 a.m.

In an appearance before Union County Superior Court Judge Stuart Peim, Bell acknowledged that while a rival group was chasing him and others, he fired several shots from a handgun in the direction of his pursuers.

The victim died after being struck by a bullet fired from Bell’s handgun, said Romankow.

Bell was arrested on March 4, 2009 at his school around and was waived to adult court in May 2009.


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