One man stands accused of committing five of the nine homicides that occurred in Jersey City this year. Prosecutors say Shiquan Bellamy, 19, of Jersey City went on a two-month homicidal rampage that may send him to a State Prison for the rest of his life if convicted of all five murders.
Bellamy's alleged homicidal marauding began with the double homicide of cousins Mileak Richardson, 26, and Lester "Bleek" Thompson, 17, who were found face down on Woodlawn Avenue the night of February 2 with several fatal gunshot wounds. Investigators say Bellamy, Hakeem "Hak" Lester and Ronald "Diddy" Lawrence, both 21, set the two victims up, then robbed them of their cell phone, drugs and cash before killing them.
The following month, Hudson County prosecutor Edward DeFazio says without apparent provocation, Bellamy walked up behind 20-year-old Lamonte Wright on Clerk Street near Myrtle Avenue around 6:00 a.m. and shot him in the back with a shotgun as Wright walked his girlfriend to her car on March 27.
Eight days later, Bellamy and two accomplices committed the execution style murders of Nia Haqq, 25, and Michael Muchioki, 27.
On April 4, Bellamy, along with Darmelia Lawrence and Latonia Bellamy, both 19, robbed and murdered the newly engaged couple as they returned to their Randolph Avenue home from their engagement party.
The couple was ordered to exit their vehicle and when they did, Police say both were shot in the back of the head.
The trio robbed the couple of jewelry, including the soon-to-be-bride's engagement ring, and other personal items in what police say was an attempted carjacking foiled by the anti-theft system on the couple's SUV.
Muchioki, an active member of Alpha Phi Alpha, worked at Antenna Software Inc. in Jersey City for three years, while Haqq designed software in Manhattan for an affiliate of Nickelodeon. The loving couple had been dating for five years since meeting through Haqq's Alpha Kappa Alpha sorority and were buried side-by-side at the Rosedale & Rosehill Cemetery in Linden.
Latonia Bellamy and Shiquan Bellamy are cousins. Ronald "Diddy" Lawrence is reportedly the older brother of Darmelia Lawrence who has been charged as an accomplice to Shiquan Bellamy in the Randolph Avenue double homicide.
When Ronald Lawrence was arrested for the double slayings of Richardson and Thompson, Darmelia Lawrence and Crystal Caldwell, 28, who was pregnant with Ronald Lawrence's child said he turned himself into police in order to clear his name. Darmelia Lawrence, who provided an alibi for her brother at the time of the murders, said "He turned himself in because he knew he did nothing wrong. He wants to take the lie detector test to prove it," reported The Jersey Journal.
Ronald Lawrence, who has been charged with armed robbery and weapons offenses, is being held at the Hudson County jail in lieu of $1 million bail.
Bellamy, whose past criminal history did not include any violent crimes, was arrested April 6 for an outstanding warrant for parole violation. Bellamy, who spent seven-months in prison on drug charges, had been on parole since his October 2009 release. So far, four of the five murders Bellamy is accused of committing appear to be motivated by robbery.
DeFazio stated that while Bellamy may have been using drugs and alcohol before the shootings of Haqq and Muchioki, he has ruled out the influence of drugs or mental illness as a cause for Bellamy's murder spree saying the teen was competent when he was arraigned April 12.
The murders did not fit the profile for gang related shootings and an unnamed Jersey City police officer who participated in solving the crimes said Bellamy would not have committed these murders as part of any gang related activity.
How investigators have drawn the conclusion that Bellamy, who was described by a neighbor as "quiet," is the sole trigger man in all five murders is still a mystery, but DeFazio said forensic evidence from Haqq's vehicle tied Bellamy to the other two murders.
Bellamy, who faces several consecutive life sentences if convicted of these murders, is being held in lieu of $6 million bail.