22-year-old Hillside man convicted in 2012 murder
A 22-year-old Hillside man was found guilty of murder in connection with a street shooting that took place in 2012, killing one man and injuring another, authorities announced Thursday.
Jonathan James was convicted of first-degree charges of murder and attempted murder as well as second-degree unlawful possession of a weapon and possession of a weapon for unlawful purposes. The conviction by a Union County jury came following a three-week trial before state Superior Court Judge Scott Moynihan.
Authorities say the incident took place on March 23, 2012, on Carteret Street in Elizabeth. While on patrol in the area, Elizabeth police officers heard gunshots. They immediately responded to the location of the shots and with the help of other officers, chased and apprehended the shooter, who was later identified as James, according to Union County Acting Prosecutor Grace H. Park.
According to authorities James killed Orlando Hernandez with a single gunshot to the head. In addition, Antonio Hernandez —no relation to the murder victim — was also shot in the back and arm.
Before Orlando Hernandez succumbed to his injuries, James was initially charged with two counts of second-degree aggravated assault and weapons offenses. Following the victim's death and a follow-up investigation the charges against James were upgraded to murder and attempted murder.
James will be sentenced on June 3, authorities said in a statement, adding that "convictions on first degree murder charges are commonly punishable by 30 years to life in state prison."
Toniann Antonelli is a social content producer for NJ 101.5. She can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org, or on Twitter @ToniRadio1015.