Man sentenced in Camden torture slayings

A Merchantville man was sentenced to two concurrent 30-year prison sentences for the torture slayings of a Burlington County couple during a violent frenzy last year in a Camden rowhouse.

During his sentencing on Thursday, Darryl “Rush” Pierre, 20, referred to one of the victims as a “bright young lady” and friend with whom he had enjoyed chatting. Yet he did not deny helping to kill her or her boyfriend.

The deaths of Muriah Ashley Huff, 18, and Michael “Doc Money” Hawkins, 23 , on Feb. 22, 2010, came from “evil in the hearts” of those who participated, said Camden County Assistant Prosecutor Mary Alison Albright.

The slayings were "horrendous," said Superior Court Judge Irvin Snyder. “I can’t even find a word to describe how depraved it was,” he said of the events that took place that day.

Huff's family members talked about their loss and the bright future they had envisioned for the teenager, who was soon to graduate with a degree in cosmetology from Burlington County Institute of Technology. Though there were no relatives in court on behalf of Hawkins, his death should be mourned as well, Albright noted.

The couple had stopped by the rowhouse on Berkley Street to visit their friends, who were members of the Lueders Park Piru Bloods street gang. Gang members turned on Hawkins because he associated with the rival Crips. He was beaten, shot and tortured for hours.

Huff, who also was tortured, was killed only because she was there, authorities said. Prosecutors charged 10 people. Pierre is the second one to plead guilty to manslaughter rather than go to trial and face a possible life sentence for murder.