- Associated Press - Wednesday, October 8, 2014

PATERSON, N.J. (AP) - Three men have pleaded not guilty to murder and other charges stemming from last month’s street shooting death of a 14-year-old girl in northern New Jersey.

The Record (https://bit.ly/1sdydwo) reports the three Paterson residents - 20-year-old Shakeem Ricks, 22-year-old Tyheem Mayfield and 19-year-old Nyje Johnson - entered their pleas during a brief court hearing Wednesday. Each man remains jailed on $2 million bail.

Another man charged in the case, 22-year-old Paterson resident Basim Williams, remains at large. Three teenage boys are also charged with murder and may be tried as adults.

Passaic County prosecutors have said the Sept. 20 slaying of high school freshman Nazerah Bugg was not gang-related. They have attributed the shooting to ongoing neighborhood disputes in Paterson’s 1st and 4th wards.

Ricks, Williams, Mayfield and Johnson have been charged with murder, attempted murder and conspiracy to commit murder. In addition, Ricks and Williams face three counts of employing juveniles in a crime; Ricks faces a charge of making terroristic threats; and Johnson faces two weapons charges.

All four men could face life sentences if they are convicted.

Nazerah’s death came about two months after another Paterson girl, 12-year-old Genesis Rincon, was killed when a stray bullet struck her while she was riding a scooter to a family gathering.

The deaths have many residents calling on local and state leaders to do more to help end the ongoing violence in the city.

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Information from: The Record (Woodland Park, N.J.), https://www.northjersey.com


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