ELIZABETH — A Union County jury convicted two Essex County men charged in a 2008 carjacking on Wednesday afternoon following a three-week trial, Prosecutor Theodore J. Romanow announced.
Rashon Brown of East Orange and Malik Smith of Newark, both 21, were found guilty of first degree carjacking, first degree armed robbery, second degree weapon possession, third degree making terroristic threats, and resisting arrest. In addition, Brown was also found guilty on two counts of hindering apprehension, said Assistant Prosecutor Lucinda J. McLaughlin, who prosecuted the case.
The carjacking occurred on Dec. 11, 2008 in Hillside. According to the investigation, a woman was sitting inside of her car outside her daughter’s apartment building when Brown approached the vehicle, brandished a handgun and he and Smith forced the woman out of the car, said McLaughlin. The two men fled the scene, and the victim was able to call police who were dispatched and located the stolen vehicle less than five minutes later in Newark, with Smith and Brown still inside.
As the officers attempted to stop the vehicle, both suspects bailed out of the car and ran in opposite directions with officers observing Brown with a gun in his hand. He dropped the gun during the foot chase, said McLaughlin, and was located a short time later hiding under a pile of garbage on a porch not far from where the car was located. Smith managed to escape but was identified following a police investigation and he was arrested a short time later, said McLaughlin.
The investigation was a collaborative effort by the Union County Prosecutor’s Office, Essex County Prosecutor’s Office, Hillside Police Department, and the Newark Police Department.
The jury spent a day in deliberations before returning their verdicts. Brown and Smith are scheduled to be sentenced on June 8 before Judge Joseph P. Donohue.
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