TRENTON – An Atlantic City man was sentenced to state prison today for his role in an armed robbery in 2007 on the White Horse Pike during which a gas station owner was fatally shot, Attorney General Jeffrey S. Chiesa announced.
Darrick Hudson, 22, of Atlantic City, was sentenced to 25 years in state prison, including 21 years of parole ineligibility under the No Early Release Act, by Superior Court Judge Bernard E. DeLury Jr. in Atlantic County. Hudson pleaded guilty on Oct. 11 to aggravated manslaughter, robbery, and hindering apprehension or prosecution. He was about to go on trial.
In pleading guilty, Hudson admitted to participating in the robbery on March 9, 2007, at the AAR gas station and mini-mart on the White Horse Pike in Atlantic City. The owner, Makhan Singh, 47, was fatally shot and an attendant, Tanzi Zepa, was wounded. Hudson said the reckless discharge of a co-conspirator’s handgun caused the death of Singh. He admitted, however, that when the co-conspirator dropped the gun used to kill Singh inside the mini mart, he picked up the gun so that it would not be recovered by law enforcement and used as evidence in the prosecution of the murder.
Deputy Attorney General Kerry DiJoseph took the guilty plea and represented the Division of Criminal Justice at the sentencing. The case was investigated by the Atlantic City Police Department, Atlantic County Prosecutor’s Office and Division of Criminal Justice. Detective Kenneth Crane led the investigation for the Division of Criminal Justice.
“Because he acted as an accomplice in this violent robbery, this defendant shares responsibility for the senseless murder of Mr. Singh, who was a husband and father,” said Chiesa. “Justice demanded that he receive this lengthy prison sentence.”
“Four defendants have now been sentenced to prison for this homicide – including one who was sentenced to 40 years in prison – and a fifth defendant is awaiting sentencing,” said Stephen J. Taylor, Director of the Division of Criminal Justice. “These successful prosecutions resulted from the skillful and devoted efforts of members of the Division of Criminal Justice, Atlantic City Police Department and Atlantic County Prosecutor’s Office, who were determined to see justice done.”
On Oct. 15, 2010, a co-defendant, Nasir Salaam, 22, of Galloway Township, was sentenced to 40 years in state prison, including 30 years without possibility of parole, by Judge DeLury. Salaam pleaded guilty to felony murder in August 2010 as he was about to go on trial for a second time. Salaam had already been convicted at trial in May 2009 of charges related to the robbery, as well as conspiracy to distribute cocaine, but the jury failed to reach a verdict on the felony murder charge.
Salaam, Hudson and a third man, all teenagers at the time, committed the robbery while armed with at least two handguns. They were assisted by two other teenagers who drove them to the gas station. Salaam admitted that, during the robbery, he brandished a handgun and demanded money from two attendants who were outside the mini-mart. Salaam admitted that, after hearing gunfire in the mini-mart, he fired a shot at one of the attendants, Zepa, who tried to flee, wounding him, and fired two shots at the mini-mart, where his two accomplices were robbing the owner at gunpoint.
Another defendant, Basir Biggins, 22, of Atlantic City pleaded guilty on Dec. 22, 2008 to three counts of first-degree robbery. He admitted that he provided one of the handguns used in the robbery. Biggins was sentenced on March 26, 2010 to 12 years in prison, including 10 years of parole ineligibility.
The two individuals who drove the robbers to the gas station, Gina McCrosson and Tyler Hart, pleaded guilty in January 2009 to conspiracy to possess cocaine and hindering apprehension, in exchange for recommended sentences of eight years in prison. Hart was sentenced on March 26, 2010 to eight years in prison. McCrosson is awaiting sentencing.
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