WOODBRIDGE — Despite prosecutors demanding a tough penalty against a 16-year-old boy who brought a loaded handgun to his high school, a Superior Court judge took a softer approach.

The teen was sentenced to years' probation on June 30.

Prosecutors had argued for a two-year jail sentence.

Malachi Parcells was sentenced as a juvenile, according to the Middlesex County Prosecutor’s Office. The identieis of juvenile offenders are usually protected but in this case, authorities released his name because it was a serious enough offense.

On March 28, Woodbridge police responded to JFK High School in the Iselin section on a report that a student was in possession of a handgun.

After police were alerted that Parcells had the firearm in a fanny pack, the teen was searched and found with a loaded 9 mm handgun, Middlesex County Prosecutor Yolanda Ciccone said.

Parcells pleaded guilty on June 24 to unlawful possession of a weapon. He had been charged with the adult equivalent offenses of second-degree possession of a firearm for an unlawful purpose, second-degree unlawful possession of a firearm and third-degree possession of a weapon in a school.

Erin Vogt is a reporter and anchor for New Jersey 101.5. You can reach her at erin.vogt@townsquaremedia.com

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These are the best hiking spots in New Jersey

A trip to New Jersey doesn't have to be all about the beach. Our state has some incredible trails, waterfalls, and lakes to enjoy.

From the Pine Barrens to the Appalachian Trail to the hidden gems of New Jersey, you have plenty of options for a great hike. Hiking is such a great way to spend time outdoors and enjoy nature, plus it's a great workout.

Before you go out on the trails and explore some of our listeners' suggestions, I have some tips on hiking etiquette from the American Hiking Society.

If you are going downhill and run into an uphill hiker, step to the side and give the uphill hiker space. A hiker going uphill has the right of way unless they stop to catch their breath.

Always stay on the trail, you may see side paths, unless they are marked as an official trail, steer clear of them. By going off-trail you may cause damage to the ecosystems around the trail, the plants, and wildlife that live there.

You also do not want to disturb the wildlife you encounter, just keep your distance from the wildlife and continue hiking.

Bicyclists should yield to hikers and horses. Hikers should also yield to horses, but I’m not sure how many horses you will encounter on the trails in New Jersey.
If you are thinking of bringing your dog on your hike, they should be leashed, and make sure to clean up all pet waste.

Lastly, be mindful of the weather, if the trail is too muddy, it's probably best to save your hike for another day.

I asked our listeners for their suggestions of the best hiking spots in New Jersey, check out their suggestions:

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