A look back at a South Jersey murder spree that rocked the state in ’02
It was on Feb. 22, 2002, that Llewelyn James, a 16 year old from West Atco, was charged with six murders he had committed earlier in the month. The teen’s murderous spree began with an argument with his aunt’s boyfriend, Absalom Giddings. James produced a .38 caliber pistol and shot Giddings, killing him.
There were three other people in the house at the time, including James’ aunt, and James, realizing that they could identify him, coldly shot them as well. Prosecutors said that he fired the handgun eleven times.
One of the victims survived the gunshot wound, but was mercilessly clubbed to death by James with a baseball bat.
The next day he went to a Lindenwold apartment to buy marijuana. When he was rebuffed, he shot through the apartment door, striking an 18 year old in the head, but he survived.
James left, but while on his way out, he encountered a 24-year-old named Kasim Dale. James was afraid that Dale could identify him so he had Dale lay face down and he shot him in the head, killing him.
James then shot and killed a 37-year-old man who was sitting on his porch as he considered him a possible witness, too. He gave the gun to a friend to hide for him.
James bragged to relatives and friends about his rampage. Authorities put a wire on a cousin of James and recorded James confessing to the crimes. He went to trial five years later and did not testify. He was convicted in 2007 of six counts of murder, one count of attempted murder, four counts of felony murder and weapons charges.
He was not eligible for the death penalty because of his age (and then New Jersey abolished it, anyway), but he was sentenced to 315 years in prison.
The post above reflects the thoughts and observations of New Jersey 101.5 talk show host Bill Doyle. Any opinions expressed are Bill Doyle's own.