MAYS LANDING - The youngest of three carjackers involved in a fatal casino garage carjacking was sentenced to 30 years in prison Thursday after a judge denied the defendant's motion to withdraw his plea.
Raheem Simmons, 19, of Camden, must serve 30 years in the shooting of Sunil Rattu and Radha Ghetia, who were abducted from the Trump Taj Mahal Casino Resort parking garage and shot in an alley off Martin Luther King Jr. Boulevard on Sept. 18, 2011.
Rattu, 28, was killed. His 24-year-old fiance, Ghetia, was wounded.
Simmons pleaded guilty in March under a plea agreement that requires he serve the entire 30-year sentence. He also has a pending double homicide case in Camden.
On Thursday, Simmons attempted to withdraw his plea, but Superior Court Judge Bernard DeLury denied the motion.
Simmons' attorney indicated he will appeal.
At his plea in March, Simmons first refused to answer any questions about the crime. When DeLury told him the plea could not go through without those necessary answers, Simmons agreed to answer.
Still, he did not reveal much about the attack. Instead, he told the judge "I don't remember" and indicated he was not armed. He did say "the man got killed."
To other questions, Simmons replied "yeah" or "no," rhythmically tapping his fingers on the table in front of him as he stood handcuffed and shackled.
Rattu and Ghetia were preparing to leave the Trump Taj Mahal Casino Resort parking garage just before 8 a.m. Sept. 18, 2011, when the three men forced Ghetia to drive to an alley off Martin Luther King Jr. Boulevard, where both were shot.
Phillip Byrd, 21, previously admitted being the shooter and is serving a 47-year sentence. He must serve nearly 40 years before he is eligible for parole.
The third man, Eric Darden, 21, is serving a 40-year sentence with 30 years of parole ineligibility.
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