Criminal Justice

4 charged in slaying of lawyer in high-end shopping mall parking lot

Four men have been charged with murder in the death of a New Jersey attorney who was gunned down earlier this month as he and his wife, who is also a lawyer, returned to a late model Range Rover in the parking lot of a high-end shopping mall.

Authorities say attorney Dustin Friedland, 30, was shot in the head as he closed the passenger door for his wife. She was forced out of the vehicle, but not injured, as at least two of the defendants allegedly carjacked the vehicle from a parking lot at the Mall at Short Hills in Millburn at about 9 p.m. on Dec. 15.

In addition to murder, defendants Karif Ford, 31, Basim Henry, 32, Kevin Roberts, 35, and Hanif Thompson, 29, also face felony murder, carjacking, conspiracy and weapons charges. They are being held in lieu of $2 million bail in the Essex County case, according to the Morning Call, the New York Times (reg. req.) and the Star-Ledger.

If convicted, the defendants face a maximum sentence of life in prison. However, there is a possibility that they could be federally charged with carjacking, which would provide for enhanced penalties including no possibility of parole, upon conviction.

The Range Rover was found abandoned behind a boarded-up home in Newark. Authorities said a Chevrolet Suburban owned by the mother of one of the suspects was found abandoned in South Orange, leading to their arrest, according to the New York Daily News and the Star-Ledger. Fueled by public outrage over the crime, tips also reportedly poured in after news of Friedland’s death.

Friedland and his wife met when both were law students at Syracuse University.

See also: “Mall shooting victim was a lawyer”

Post-Standard: “Death penalty could be pursued in slaying of SU law grad during NJ carjacking”

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