CAPE MAY COURT HOUSE --Khalil Wallace climbed into the back of a gray minivan and shook the hands of the three men inside.
Minutes later at least four gunshots were fired and Wallace, a former standout football player at Millville High School, was dead.
"I turned around and closed my eyes and then start shooting," Boris Curwen said as he told Superior Court Judge Patricia Wild about what happened on Sept. 20, 2011 in Woodbine. "I remember three shots."
Curwen’s statements came as he pleaded guilty first-degree aggravated manslaughter in the death of Wallace, 19, of Woodbine.
As part of his plea agreement, Curwen, 20, has agreed to testify truthfully against the other men involved and he will receive a 10-year prison term of which he must serve 85 percent before being eligible for parole.
Curwen said he traveled in the minivan that day from Millville with Andre Gross and Norman Gray because Gross wanted to confront Wallace over some money he believed had been taken from him.
"Did you specifically have a gun?" First Assistant Prosecutor Rob Johnson asked.
"Yes sir," Curwen said
The gun, Curwen said, came from Gross.
“He handed me the gun and told me if he moves like if he tries to do anything just pull it out on him and put something hot in him," Curwen said.
Johnson asked what that phrase meant.
"He meant using the weapon to shoot," Curwen said.
Curwen said he initially didn't want to accompany Gross, but Gross talked him into it. "I just know the type of person he is and I just agreed," Curwen said, expressing concern for his mother and her safety.
As they reached Woodbine, Gross called Wallace and Wallace told them to meet outside a store in Woodbine.
Wallace then got inside the van that Gross was driving.
"We all shook hands and he drove off," Curwen said.
Not long after, Curwen, who was sitting in the front passenger seat, said there was a tussle between Gray and Wallace and he heard a gunshot fired by Gray.
"Norman Gray shot first," Johnson said.
"Yes," Curwen replied.
Curwen said that prompted him to turn and fire toward Wallace.
"Was he dead?" Johnson asked.
"I believe so," Curwen said.
Curwen said that's when he got out of the minivan.
"I just seen Khalil laying there in the back," he said.
That's when, according to Curwen, Gross told them to "just chill" and that he knew what to do.
He said Gross and Gray took the body out of the vehicle when they returned to rural Cumberland County and dumped it after taking Wallace's clothes and boots.
They then went to Bridgeton where they met with an associate of Gross' who was told to burn Wallace's clothes.
Next they traveled to Philadelphia where Gross got a gas tank and doused the interior of the minivan with gasoline.
Curwen said Gross then set the minivan on fire with Curwen still inside.
"You caught on fire," Johnson asked.
"Yes," Curwen said.
Johnson also asked what happened to the handguns.
"As we're leaving Woodbine, Andre says he'll put all the guns in a bag. He took the gun I had, Norman had and the one Khalil had and put it in a bag and tossed it into a little pond," Curwen said.
Defense attorney Michael Testa noted that Curwen, who is a legal alien but not a U.S. Citizen, will be subject to removal from the U.S. when his prison term is complete.
Curwen will be sentenced on Jan. 4, 2013.