4 Suspects in NJ Mall Carjacking Plead Not Guilty

NEWARK, N.J. (AP) -
Essex County Sheriff Armando Fontoura, left, looks on as Kevin Roberts, one of four accused in the Dec. 15, 2013, carjacking is escorted to a police van. (AP Photo/Julio Cortez)
Essex County Sheriff Armando Fontoura, left, looks on as Kevin Roberts, one of four accused in the Dec. 15, 2013, carjacking is escorted to a police van. (AP Photo/Julio Cortez)

Four men charged in the fatal carjacking of a young lawyer outside an upscale New Jersey mall pleaded not guilty Wednesday to felony murder and other charges.

Hanif Thompson, 29, of Irvington, and Newark residents Karif Ford, 31, Basim Henry, 32, and Kevin Roberts, 33, are accused in the Dec. 15 carjacking and killing of Dustin Friedland outside The Mall at Short Hills.

The four men were arraigned Wednesday on charges of murder, felony murder, carjacking, conspiracy, possession of a weapon and possession of a weapon for unlawful purpose.

A state Superior Court judge in Newark continued their bail at $2million each. The four have been in custody since their arrests about a week after the shooting.

Friedland, a 30-year-old Jewish lawyer from Hoboken, was killed while returning to his car in the mall parking garage with his wife after a shopping trip. The carjackers confronted the couple and Friedland was shot in the head. His wife was unharmed.

Acting Essex County Prosecutor Carolyn Murray said the “sheer senselessness” of the crime outraged residents and led to tips pouring in from across Essex County, whose borders encompass crime-plagued Newark to the east and Short Hills and other affluent suburbs to the west.