- Associated Press - Monday, December 12, 2016

PASSAIC, N.J. (AP) - A 20-year-old northern New Jersey man was sentenced last week to serve 10 years behind bars in connection with the murder of a popular young local rapper in Clifton last year.

Owen Soltis pleaded guilty to aggravated manslaughter on Friday after cutting a deal with Passaic County prosecutors. He must serve 8 1/2 years of his sentence before he’s eligible for parole.

Authorities say Soltis acted as lookout for three teens charged with murder and several weapons offenses stemming from the Oct. 15, 2015 fatal shooting of 21-year-old Leandro Mendoza.

Soltis admitted that he drove three co-defendants to Lexington Liquors with the understanding that they intended to confront and kill Mendoza.

One teen was sentenced to 16 years in prison after accepting a plea deal. The others are awaiting trial.

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