UPDATE: Four Face Murder Charges In Carjack-Killing Of Toms River Native

Four charged in death of Toms River North graduate, Hoboken attorney last Sunday night.

Three Newark men and an Irvington man were charged in the fatal carjacking at the Short Hills mall on Saturday, Dec. 21, 2013 (Photo: Melinda Stevens/Patch)
Three Newark men and an Irvington man were charged in the fatal carjacking at the Short Hills mall on Saturday, Dec. 21, 2013 (Photo: Melinda Stevens/Patch)
Written By Mike Pignataro and Melinda Stevens

Four Essex County men have been charged in the carjack-killing of a Toms River native at The Mall at Short Hills last weekend, the Essex County Prosecutor's Office has announced.

Hanif Thompson, 29, of Irvington, and Newark residents Karif Ford, 31, Basim Henry, 32, and Kevin Roberts, 33, were each charged with murder, felony murder, carjacking, conspiracy, possession of a weapon and possession of a weapon for unlawful purpose. 

Dustin Friedland, 30, was shot in the head when he and his wife returned to their SUV in a parking deck shortly after 9 p.m. last Sunday. Friedland was pronounced dead at 11:45 p.m. that night at Morristown Medical Center. His wife, Jamie, who was uninjured, was also transported to the hospital.

Services for Friedland, a Toms River native and Toms River North graduate who lived in Hobokenwere held Wednesday in Lakewood.

The couple's Range Rover was the target—not Friedland—in the incident, Acting Essex County Prosecutor Carolyn Murray said at a Saturday morning press conference in Newark. Authorities declined to comment which man allegedly pulled the trigger.

The investigation revealed the four men were all in the parking lot the night of the killing with two leaving in the stolen SUV and the other two in the vehicle they arrived in, according to Murray.

The four men were arrested through a "combination of witnesses, statements, technology, old-fashioned police work and putting the pieces together," Murray said.

Murray declined to comment whether the four men were connected to a gang.

All four were arrested without incident between 9 p.m. Friday night and 3 a.m. Saturday. Bail was set at $2 million for each of the defendants and arraignments will be announced Sunday.

Henry was arrested by the FBI Task Force at a hotel in the Easton area in Pennsylvania, while the other three were apprehended at their homes, Murray said.

According to a manager of the Comfort Inn in Palmer Township, Pa., the FBI arrived at the hotel at about 1:15 a.m. Saturday, LehighValleyLive.com reported. The federal agents went to a room where a man and woman had been staying since Wednesday, the manager told the website.

Investigators examined mall tapes and searched behind a vacant, boarded-up house on Renner Avenue in Newark where the SUV was found this week and a $41,000 reward was offered for information that led to the capture the carjackers.

"There has been an epidemic of carjackings and so we formed a task force earlier this year combined with federal state, county and local forces and others to stop it and these arrests are a result of this effort," U.S. Attorney Paul Fishman said.

At least three of the four men have criminal records, ranging from burglary to bank robbery, according to NJ.com. Now they each face life in prison if convicted for the killing of Friedland.

"Whether you live in Essex County—or anywhere in New Jersey—work here, go to school here, or are just passing through, you deserve safety," Fishman said. "You shouldn’t have to worry when you get in your car that someone is going to put a gun to your head. That is why we are working so closely with all levels of law enforcement to take these violent offenders off the streets and to make it clear these crimes will not be tolerated." 
proud December 22, 2013 at 12:40 PM
Obama would be a horror if he were purple. We've been chums for a long time @ suz, but I just can't get behind your thinking on this issue. Nor can I sit back and be maligned by some of the others on this thread that possess a third grade mentality. In any event, I hope you have a wonderful holiday season, if you celebrate such a thing.
suz December 22, 2013 at 01:12 PM
Thanks Proud...and you as well, Merry Christmas!
fed up December 22, 2013 at 02:06 PM
Call the cops whenever you see them in a place you know they don't belong (toms river). Its called suspicious person. If you call they have to respond. Maybe if they got confronted by police every time they stepped foot in TR. they would stay out. It works the same for whites. For example, If you walked into Newark or Camden and got your ass kicked or jumped every time, you would stop going there. Same idea, CALL THE COPS!!!
Richard J. Thomas December 22, 2013 at 06:05 PM
These are wild animals, nothing more. They should be treated as such
patch_reader December 22, 2013 at 09:35 PM
@ fed up. The oak ave crew would wouldn't be able to handle these creatures on a daily basis. Like dropping a hometown kid in an inner city.


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