Number of homicides in Orange hits 8 for 2016

ORANGE, NJ — The year may be coming to an end, but the death toll continues to increase in Orange, with the number of homicides in the city now at eight.

On Friday, Dec. 2, acting Essex County Prosecutor Carolyn A. Murray and Orange Police Director Todd Warren announced a 16-year-old male juvenile had been arrested in connection with the shooting murder of cab driver Jonas Larose, 55, on Wednesday, Nov. 30, on the 200 block of Snyder Street in the City of Orange. They said the suspect is currently being housed at the Essex County Juvenile Detention Center.

“The 16-year-old was charged with murder, felony murder, robbery, unlawful possession of a weapon, possession of a weapon for unlawful purpose and forgery,” said Murray on Saturday, Dec. 3, in a press release.

On Thursday, Dec. 8, Murray and Director Warren announced that authorities had arrested a second suspect in connection with the killing of Larose.

“Larose, a cabdriver was fatally shot at approximately 11 p.m.,”Chief Assistant Prosecutor Thomas Fennelly said on Thursday, Dec. 8, in a press release. “A 16-year-old juvenile was arrested on Dec. 2 (and) charged with the murder of Larose. While continuing the investigation, detectives from Essex County Prosecutor’s Homicide Task Force arrested a second suspect this morning in Orange. Sheedley Pierre, age 20, of Orange was taken into custody earlier today.”

Fennelly said Pierre has been charged with felony murder, robbery and conspiracy, and his bail was set at $500,000 by Superior Court Judge Alphonse Cifelli. Pierre has been lodged in the Essex County Correctional Facility and will be arraigned in Superior Court at a later date.

“Prosecutor Murray has commended the work by the members of the Homicide Task Force,” Fennelly said.

Murray’s praise for the work in the Larose cabdriver case came after she and Chief of Detectives Quovella Spruill also praised the Homicide Task Force for apprehending Stevenson Valentin, of Maplewood, the alleged gunman in the quadruple shooting on Thursday, Nov. 3, on Cleveland Street in Orange that killed 21-month-old Marcus Milien and his 21-year-old uncle Morlens Milice.

“Stevenson was charged with two counts of murder, possession of a weapon, possession unlawful purpose and two counts of aggravated assault on the two other shooting victims on the same day,” said Murray on Saturday, Dec. 3, in a press release. “Stevenson was arrested in the city of Newark during a traffic stop by Newark police officers. During this stop, the officers determined he was wanted for the Orange murders.”

Not every incident is resolved, however. On Monday, Dec. 5, Fennelly announced the dead body of an unidentified woman had been discovered inside a vacant building on Highland Avenue in Orange, saying, “the cause of death is pending an autopsy by the Regional Medical Examiner’s Office.”

Murray, Director Warren and Fennelly said the Highland Avenue incident is being investigated by the Essex County Prosecutor’s Major Crimes Task Force and the Orange Police Department.

Requests for comments from Mayor Dwayne Warren and others in his administration about the Snyder Street taxi driver case and Highland Avenue death were unsuccessful by press time this week.

Anyone with information about the Highland Avenue case is asked to call the Prosecutor’s Tips Line at 877-847-7432.