Eugene Cosby

Eugene Cosby, 42, will be held in jail pending trial in the killing of Millville youth football coach Joseph ‘JoJo’ Jones.

BRIDGETON — The last of four people charged in the death of Millville youth football coach Joseph “JoJo” Jones will be held in jail pending trial, a judge ruled Thursday.

Eugene Cosby, 42, of Malaga, was charged earlier this month with homicide and conspiracy to commit homicide in the Aug. 9 slaying of Jones in the parking lot of Lakeside Middle School after a Millville Midget Football League practice had just wrapped. Jones’ 7-year-old son and other children were at the school for practice.

Cosby will be returned to the Essex County jail, Superior Court Judge Michael Silvanio ruled. He is being housed there for his safety.

Prosecutors contend Cosby and three others, including a woman he is in a relationship with, drove to the school wearing masks in two separate cars, an Acura TL and a maroon Pontiac Grand Prix. Occupants of the Pontiac exchanged gunfire with an Atlantic County prosecutor’s detective while fleeing the grounds via Route 55 North, authorities said.

Wayne Powell, Cosby’s attorney, said his client would not contest the motion to detain. After the hearing, Powell said Cosby denies all involvement in the killing.

“Quite frankly, I don’t think we would have prevailed today. … But he is going to fight this,” Powell said. “His family rather him be at home.”

Will El-Bey, 22, of Vineland, is also charged in Jones’ death with homicide and conspiracy to commit homicide. He is being held at the Burlington County jail pending trial.

Arguing for Cosby’s detention, Assistant Prosecutor Elizabeth Vogelsong mapped out the two-month investigation that led to his arrest.

Cosby’s alleged role in the killing and subsequent cover-up unfolded when an Atlantic County Prosecutor’s Office detective followed the Pontiac that fled when shots rang out, Vogelsong said.

The sergeant wrote down the vehicle’s license plate number before it disappeared from sight, she said, leading investigators to a number of witnesses who revealed El-Bey and Cosby had obtained the plate and placed it on the rear of the sedan.

Investigators received approval to tap Cosby’s and El-Bey’s phones, according to an affidavit of probable cause. Messages and conversations showed the pair discussing disposing of the weapon in a lake in the days following the killing, Vogelsong said.

“Many pertinent conversations were captured,” Vogelsong said. “Communications revealed Cosby and El-Bey setting up a meeting to discuss the alibi and getting the story straight,” she said.

During an Oct. 10 search of their homes, police found large quantities of heroin, drug distribution paraphernalia and evidence linking Cosby to a dog-fighting ring. In El-Bey’s residence, investigators found a Glock 9mm similar to shell casing recovered at the school, the affidavit says.

Cosby’s girlfriend Genea Hughes-Lee, 34, of Malaga, and Tyrell Hart, 22, of Vineland, are also charged in the killing with conspiracy to hinder apprehension, hindering apprehension, obstruction and two counts of false reports to law enforcement.

The two lied to cops to throw investigators off Cosby and El-Bey’s trail, Vogelsong said. Conversations showed Hart agreed to tell authorities he and Hughes-Lee were inside the Acura TL parked at Lakeside Middle School when the shooting occurred, Vogelsong said.

Hart and Hughes-Lee were both ordered released Oct. 16 pending trial.

Powell is looking to have his client moved to a jail closer to Cumberland County.

Cosby’s pre-indictment hearing is scheduled for Dec. 6.

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