Naszhere Marquette Jones decided to reject the plea deal offered to him and opted to put his fate in the hands of a jury. Unfortunately, he was found guilty for his involvement in the shooting death of Jaquan Harrison, a former convict, in Paterson during March of 2021.
On Friday, September 29, Passaic County Prosecutor Camelia M. Valdes announced that jurors in Paterson had reached a verdict in the case against Jones. The jury found Jones guilty of reckless manslaughter and weapons offenses after deliberating for a day and a half.
After shooting and killing Fernando Irby, 25, of Paterson at an after-hours club in December 2015, Harrison was sentenced to over four years in state prison for aggravated assault and weapons offenses.
It’s a tragic irony that followed.
Due to the COVID-19 pandemic, Harrison and several other state prisoners received an unexpected early release. Although his original release date was set for September 2021, the surge of cases prompted the state to reduce the sentences of hundreds of inmates.
In January 2021, Harrison was released from prison, eight months earlier than anticipated. This decision was met with widespread criticism and protests against Governor Phil Murphy’s directive for mass releases.
In less than two months since regaining his freedom, Harrison passed away.
According to reports, Harrison and Jones had a disagreement that resulted in Jones firing a shot at Harrison’s back at the intersection of North 6th and Clinton streets on March 3, 2021. Tragically, Harrison passed away four days later as a result of his injuries.
After the shooting incident, Jones soon became the main suspect and went into hiding. However, he was eventually caught in Old Bridge, almost four months after the tragic event took place.
Jones was apprehended by a team of law enforcement officials from the U.S. Marshal’s Service Fugitive Task Force, Passaic County Sheriff’s Department, Valdes’s office and Old Bridge police. They found him attempting to get into his car at a garden apartment complex located off Route 9.
According to Valdes, Jones swiftly fled the scene when he spotted them and was apprehended soon after. In his possession, they found a firearm with an extensive magazine capacity, as well as a stash of crack and heroin within his vehicle.
Valdes stated that Jones was convicted on Thursday, September 28, with the assistance of surveillance footage, thanks to the efforts of Passaic County Senior Assistant Prosecutor Evan Mongiardo.
During the trial, the assistant prosecutor presented the jury with video footage of Jones both prior to the shooting and immediately after fleeing the scene.
Following the Thursday court hearing, Superior Court Judge Justine Niccollai has ordered Jones to be sent back to Bergen County Jail until a sentencing date is set. As of now, the sentencing date has not been established, according to Valdes.