A state appeals court has upheld a 60-year sentence for a Millville man convicted of the 2005 shooting death of a Salem County resident during a botched robbery attempt.

A three-judge panel of the Appellate Division of Superior Court rejected several arguments made by Jerome Farnville, including that “highly prejudicial” victim-impact testimony was incorrectly allowed during his trial.

However, the panel reversed Farnville’s conviction on a robbery charge, one of several offenses on which he was found guilty. The panel found that the verdict sheet given to the jury was incomplete because it didn’t contain all the questions that could have led the jury to find Farnville guilty of that charge. The panel states in its ruling that overturning the robbery conviction won’t change the overall sentenced imposed on Farnville.

In upholding that overall sentence, the appeals court found that the prison stay is supported by aggravating factors found by the trial judge and within the statutory range for felony murder.

“The sentence does not shock the judicial conscience,” the court ruled.

According to the state Department of Corrections’ website, the 30-year-old Farnville is being held in New Jersey State Prison in Trenton. The website lists Farnville’s maximum release and parole eligibility dates as Oct. 3, 2056.

Farnville was one of seven men arrested in connection with the death of 55-year-old Pittsgrove Township resident Hamilton Blackshear.

Police said the men went to Bridgeton home of Hamilton Blackshear’s son, Albert Blackshear, on Belmont Avenue about 9:30 p.m. Sept. 12, 2005. The men intended to rob Albert Blackshear, police said. 

Albert Blackshear previously had several arguments with one of the men involving a relationship Albert Blackshear reportedly had with the man’s girlfriend, the appeals court ruling reads. Bridgeton police also said Albert Blackshear and another man set fire to the home of one of the men the day before the shooting.

Hamilton Blackshear was shot twice by Farnville as he walked out the back door of his son’s home, Bridgeton police said. They said Farnville and his accomplices mistook Hamilton Blackshear for his son.

A jury eventually found Farnville guilty of murder, armed robbery, robbery, unlawful acquisition of a firearm and conspiracy to commit robbery and burglary.

Contact Thomas Barlas:

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