Newspaper article The Record (Bergen County, NJ)

Shooting Suspect Pleads Not Guilty

Newspaper article The Record (Bergen County, NJ)

Shooting Suspect Pleads Not Guilty

Article excerpt

PATERSON -- A 22-year-old Paterson man charged with attempted murder in connection with a drive-by shooting of a 15-year-old in June "comes from a loving family," said the court-appointed lawyer who represented him before a Superior Court judge Wednesday.

Eugeonce Coleman pleaded not guilty to the attempted-murder charge in his first appearance before Superior Court Judge Marilyn C. Clark alongside Kenyatta Stewart, his attorney. Coleman's case will be sent to a grand jury.

The shooting took place on the afternoon of June 18 on Godwin Avenue near Rosa Parks Boulevard, an area of Paterson's 4th Ward known for gun violence and drug activity, police said. A 15-year- old boy was walking up Godwin when a gray sedan drove by; shots were fired from the vehicle, and the boy was struck in the back, police said.

"We have no idea what it was about; that is still under investigation," Detective Lt. Patrick Murray said.

Coleman was identified as a possible shooter two or three days after the incident, Murray said.

Stewart said Coleman's mother was working on Wednesday and could not be present in court. He said he would hire investigators to look into the attempted murder and weapons charges against Coleman.

Coleman has a prior conviction for unlawful handgun possession stemming from a 2010 arrest; he was released from a halfway house in March 2013, according to state Department of Corrections records.

Later Thursday, a defendant in another attempted-murder case in Paterson appeared before Clark. Zahmir "Zahti" Hayes was arrested in August 2013 after allegedly shooting a man in the head during a robbery.

Hayes, 20, also is represented by Stewart, with the firm Hunt, Hamlin & Riley. Prosecutors are seeking to increase Hayes' $250,000 bail and to have Stewart dismissed as Hayes' court-appointed attorney because of possible misconduct by one of Stewart's investigators. …

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