CARTERET, NJ–Two men, one from Cartertet and another from Essex County, are headed to state prison for their role in the death of a Maryland man who was visiting relatives in Carteret on April 5, 2013.

Their victim, Deonte Shackleford, was just 26 years old when he was shot and killed in the borough, during his visit from Baltimore.

Both 24-year-old Daniel Gillens, of Newark, and 30-year-old Hakeem Mercer, of Carteret, had pleaded guilty to lesser crimes than the ones they had been charged with in a plea deal with prosecutors.

The sentences, 25 years for Gillens, and 10 years for Mercer, were announced by the Middlesex County Prosecutor's Office (MCPO) on October 14.

Gillens pleaded guilty to aggravated manslaughter and Mercer "admitted he conspired to commit an aggravated assault upon the victim," according to the MCPO.

The sentences were handed down by Superior Court Judge Michael Toto. He ruled the defendants must serve at least 85% of their sentences before becoming eligible for parole.

New Brunswick Today obtained the MCPO's official statement despite all of our reporters being removed from that agecy's press list earlier this year.

"The investigation began when police, on patrol, heard gunshots fired in the Chrome section of Carteret," reads the statement, which credits Sgt. Marcus Rosario of the Carteret Police Department and MCPO Detective Gregory Morris.

Responding police officers found Shackleford on the sidewalk at the intersection of Pershing Avenue and Union Street, according to the statement.  He was later pronounced dead at Robert Wood Johnson University Hospital in Rahway.

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Charlie is the founder and editor of New Brunswick Today, and the winner of the Awbrey Award for Community-Oriented Local Journalism. He is a proud Rutgers University journalism graduate and a community organizer, and was an independent candidate for Mayor of New Brunswick in 2018.