MAYS LANDING — A day after telling the judge they might be deadlocked, a jury found a Mays Landing man guilty of murder Friday.
Keshaun Earley was accused of fatally shooting James Jordan on Aug. 26, 2012, outside Atlantic City's Carver Hall Apartments.
Earley's defense argued he was miles away in his Oakcrest Estates neighborhood at the time of the shooting.
Video surveillance of the property showed the back of a man walking in the neighborhood 15 minutes after the shooting. But the state argued it was not him.
An investigator sifted through 216 hours of video footage from the complex's cameras looking for anyone matching Earley's description but found only two clips from two different cameras had anyone matching his description. The 30 minutes of video was saved, with the remainder destroyed.
Public defender Eric Shenkus never was able to see the destroyed footage and made a pretrial motion to have the murder charge dismissed due to the destruction of possible evidence.
He said after Friday's verdict that he would appeal.
In his closing, he also noted that the shooter — who is visible on surveillance video but has a towel covering his face — held the gun with his right hand. Video of Earley's interrogation shows him writing with his left hand.
The state had three witnesses who identified Earley, whom they knew as Buddha, as the shooter.
Assistant Prosecutor Seth Levy said cellphone records the defense said put Earley at home in Mays Landing were the result of the defendant intentionally leaving his phone home to cover for his real location.
"The defense relied upon anonymous electronic data in order to get away with murder," said Levy, who tried the case with Assistant Prosecutor Raphael Ortega. "But the verdict affirms the continued importance of good people coming forward in obtaining justice."
Earley was found guilty also of two weapons offenses and faces life in prison when he is sentenced before Superior Court Judge Mark Sandson on May 1.
Earley has been jailed on $1 million bail since his arrest. Sandson revoked bail following the verdict.
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