NEWARK, NJ — Rahiym Washington, 32, of Newark, was sentenced to 20 years in New Jersey State Prison after an Essex County jury found him guilty of second-degree aggravated assault for shooting his friend and leaving him paralyzed, according to a Jan. 23 press release from the Essex County Prosecutor’s Office.
The crime occurred on April 5, 2018. Washington entered the ex-girlfriend’s home and found her in bed with his friend. Washington shot both the male friend, whom he had known since childhood, and his ex-girlfriend. The defendant was arrested the next day in his mother’s apartment. Police recovered a handgun in the basement where the defendant was apprehended. The gun was a silver revolver with a black handle, which matched the description of the gun given by both victims.
The male victim was permanently paralyzed as a result of one of the gunshots that damaged his spinal cord.
The jury convicted Washington of aggravated assault for shooting the male, but acquitted him of attempted murder and all charges related to the female victim. Williams was also found guilty of second-degree possession of a handgun for an unlawful purpose.
In November an Essex County jury returned the guilty verdict following a trial before Superior Court Judge Arthur Batista. At sentencing on Jan. 17, Batista accepted the state’s argument that Washington should be sentenced as a persistent offender because of his lengthy criminal history.
Under the No Early Release Act, Washington must serve 85 percent of his sentence before he is eligible for parole.
Assistant Prosecutor Austin Edwards, who tried the case, argued for the longer sentence because Washington had four prior felony convictions for thefts, burglary and terroristic threats.
“A 20-year sentence is appropriate in this case because this defendant repeatedly demonstrated that he has no respect for the law. While there is nothing our court system can do to help the victim in this case walk again, I hope that this result gives him some closure to this horrific chapter of his life,” Edwards said.