Newspaper article The Record (Bergen County, NJ)

Teens to Be Tried as Adults

Newspaper article The Record (Bergen County, NJ)

Teens to Be Tried as Adults

Article excerpt

PATERSON -- A state Family Court judge ruled Friday that three juveniles who were charged in connection with the shooting death of 14-year-old Nazerah Bugg last September will be tried as adults, authorities said.

A lawyer representing one of the boys said on Friday that he believes that prosecutors will argue that his client and another juvenile did the shooting.

Judge Greta Gooden Brown found there was enough evidence against the three boys to transfer their cases to the adult criminal division in Superior Court, and she signed new complaints against them, said Jennifer Bedrin, the senior assistant Passaic County prosecutor in charge of the juvenile unit.

Quajeir Culbreath, 16, Jeavonte Dennis, 17, and Davonte Lewis, who is now 18, face charges of murder, conspiracy to commit murder, attempted murder and two weapons offenses, Bedrin said.

The judge set Culbreath's bail at $750,000 cash and imposed $500,000 cash bails for Dennis and Lewis, prosecutors said.

Additional complaints also were filed against Lewis and Dennis, Bedrin said. Lewis was charged with a weapons offense for possessing a gun when police picked him up two days after Nazerah's killing, she said. And Dennis faces three drug offenses stemming from his arrest in the murder, when police found a "significant" amount of heroin in his possession, the prosecutor said.

Culbreath and Lewis will appear on the charges before Superior Court Judge Bruno Mongiardo at 9 a.m. Tuesday.

The decision was welcomed by Nazerah's family members, who have attended all of the court proceedings so far, Bedrin said. A few weeks ago, her uncle, Sharrieff Bugg, wrote a letter to Gooden Brown and Assignment Judge Ernest Caposela, saying the youths must be held accountable for their actions.

"They chose to participate in the act of killing Nazerah Bugg," he wrote. "As with many youth, they believe they are exempt because of the leniency of laws towards youth. …

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