Anthony Velez of Garfield pleaded not guilty in state court Wednesday to murder and weapons charges in connection with the shooting death of 22-year-old Manuel Lugo, who was found dead in the hallway of a Passaic apartment building Friday.
Velez, 27, was arraigned before state Superior Court Presiding Criminal Division Judge Marilyn C. Clark on charges of murder, conspiracy to commit murder, robbery, conspiracy to commit robbery and unlawful weapons counts. He is being held at the Passaic County jail on $750,000 bail. Judge Clark referred the matter to a Passaic County grand jury.
Velez was arrested at 4 a.m. Saturday; co-defendant Schelton Shennett,23, was arrested six hours later. Shennett has been charged with weapons counts in connection with the shooting and was being held Wednesday at the jail on $75,000 bail.
The incident began outside 390 River Drive in Passaic, where the suspects got into a dispute with Lugo and may have tried to rob him, police said.
After being shot in the chest, Lugo ran into the apartment building where he collapsed on the second floor, according to police.
Lugo and the suspects knew each other from “past altercations,” police have said, declining to elaborate.
Police said they are looking for two other suspects in the case.
Filed Under: PASSAIC
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