MAYS LANDING - Accused killer Carlos Woodall had one question: "We have the right to a speedy trial, right?"
Woodall and three other men were in court Wednesday, accused of conspiring to kill Corleone Hayes, 29, of Atlantic City, who was gunned down Nov. 20 inside a resort apartment building.
Haneef Graves, 29, was arrested two days after the killing, but Chief Assistant Prosecutor John Maher indicated to the judge at the time that there were other individuals involved. On Tuesday, the four men were arrested at different locations in Atlantic City in what Atlantic County Prosecutor Ted Housel called a coordinated effort that included Atlantic City police, State Police, the Division of Criminal Justice, Atlantic County Sheriff's Department and the Atlantic County Prosecutor's Office.
Woodall, 23; Jason Hall, 22; James Clegg, 21; and Hakeem Ceasar, 23 - all of Atlantic City - were in court to hear the charges against them, which include murder and weapons offenses.
When asked if they had any questions, Woodall asked about their right to a speedy trial.
"Yes, you have that right," Superior Court Judge Michael Donio said, asking how quickly they would want to be tried after an indictment.
Woodall - the shortest of the group - then looked to Clegg on his left and Ceasar on his right, and said, "As soon as possible," as the others offered variations of the same sentiment.
When the four were led into the courtroom, Donio welcomed Woodall back.
Woodall was on trial before Donio in 2009, when he was accused of providing the gun his cousin Dara Woodall used to kill Menya Charles Williams. The jury acquitted Carlos Woodall. His cousin is serving a 70-year sentence for murder.
"Mr. Woodall, nice to see you again," Donio said.
At a news conference held less than an hour before the court appearance, Housel would not comment on what led to the new arrests.
"Obviously, as of Tuesday morning I felt there was sufficient evidence to issue arrest warrants," he said.
As for a motive, he said only: "It's obvious these individuals wanted Mr. Hayes dead. Their purpose was to kill him."
Hayes was shot inside 1330 Baltic Ave. at about 8:45 p.m. Nov. 20, just 45 minutes after Darren Holcomb-Tally, 17, was shot dead in the city's Back Maryland section. The crimes have not been linked.
When asked if the men were tied to any other crimes, Housel said not at the time, but again asked people to come forward with anything they may know, especially now that the men are behind bars.
The four arrested Tuesday have bails set at $1 million full cash each, which is the same amount for Graves.
Graves also has a new charge. He was found with a cellphone after returning from municipal court, said Joseph Bondiskey, warden of the Atlantic County Jail. He was charged with possession of a prohibited electronic communication device last month.
Woodall himself was the victim of a shooting Sept. 17, two months before Hayes' killing.
Clegg, the youngest of the group, is the only one who does not appear to have an adult record. But he was sentenced as a juvenile in 2008 on charges of cocaine possession and distribution, according to a published report in The Press of Atlantic City.
Woodall's criminal record of mostly drug arrests dates to 2007; Hall's to 2008, with an assault conviction.
Ceasar was released from prison in January 2010 after serving less than six months of a five-year sentence on drug and weapons charges. His first arrest was in 2007, court records show.
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