BRIDGETON — Frustrated, angry supporters of Millville Midget Football League coach Joseph “JoJo” Jones left the courtroom Tuesday after a Superior Court Judge decided that two people charged in his August murder would be released from pretrial detention.
Jones, 37, was shot at 8:15 p.m. Aug. 9 in the parking lot of Lakeside Middle School as athletes, coaches and parents were leaving after a league practice. Jones’ 7-year-old son, an athlete on the team, was at the practice where his father was killed.
Genea Hughes-Lee, 34, of Malaga, Gloucester County, and Tyrell Hart, 22, of Vineland, who are charged with conspiracy to hinder apprehension, hindering apprehension, obstruction and two counts of making false reports to law enforcement, were ordered released from jail by Judge Michael J. Silvanio.
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While two others charged with homicide and conspiracy to commit homicide in the fatal shooting — Will El-Bey, 22, of Vineland, and Eugene Cosby, 42, of Malaga — were also scheduled for detention hearings Tuesday morning, both were adjourned until Friday.
Lawyers for both Hughes-Lee and Hart argued their low scores on the court’s public safety assessment would recommend they be released due to their limited criminal history.
Hart’s lawyer, Andrew Duclair, argued Hart has no criminal history, and that he “is a good kid that allegedly made a bad mistake.”
Emily Bell, Hughes-Lee’s attorney, said her client “ultimately cooperated with the police fully,” including providing information that led to the recovery of one of the alleged murder weapons.
With their release, Silvanio denied Assistant Prosecutor Charles Wettstein’s application for pretrial detention.
Several of Jones’ supporters got up and left the courtroom after Silvanio’s decision, but came back in shortly after.
Hart and Hughes-Lee were both released on the highest level of monitoring, which mandates that they report to the court each week. They were also ordered not to contact any of their co-defendants.
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One of Jones’ family members, who asked not to be identified, stood with the group of over a dozen friends and family members outside the courtroom after the hearings concluded. Several of them wore shirts with pictures of Jones on them.
“He doesn’t get to come home to his kids,” she said, adding that in addition to his son, Jones has two daughters. “It’s not fair.”
Hughes-Lee and Hart are slated for a pre-indictment conference Dec. 6 before Judge Cristen P. D’Arrigo.