N.J. trial opens for man linked to killings on both sides of Delaware

The cross-river travels of 26-year-old Laurie Wint continued this week, as the man linked to killings on either side of the Delaware - and convicted already in a Pennsylvania court - appeared before a judge in Camden County on Tuesday.

In June 2011, Wint allegedly shot Kevin Miller, 19, in a Camden park during a dispute over the victim's 15-year-old girlfriend. Then, according to authorities, he fled to Warminster, where, weeks later, he stabbed Tyrone Newman, 33, to death. He fled back to Camden, where he was apprehended and extradited to Bucks County.

Convicted of the Newman killing in 2012, Wint was sentenced to 12½ to 25 years in prison in Pennsylvania.

At the start of Wint's second trial Tuesday, Camden County Assistant Prosecutor Peter Crawford described when Miller was killed as a warm and sunny summer day that did not need to end in death.

He "shot Kevin one time, right in the chest," Crawford said. "This is not CSI. There were other options. . . . This was not self-defense."

Crawford said Wint fled when Miller collapsed.

Wint's attorney, Jeffrey Zucker, said the shooting was self-defense. He said that Miller and a friend had found and punched Wint, and that Miller's friend drew a gun, prompting Wint to shoot his own handgun in defense.

"Laurie Wint, unfortunately, had to shoot" Miller, Zucker said. "He is guilty of possessing a firearm without a permit." But Wint shot in self-defense, Zucker said, adding that Miller and his friend were members of the Bloods gang.

Following the opening remarks, which elicited tears from family of the victim in the courtroom, the prosecution called its first witness, who lives next to Eutaw Park in Camden, where Miller was shot.

Stafford Layden said he was gardening in his backyard, which borders the park, when he heard a shot. He thought it was fireworks, but "hunkered down" to protect himself. He then said he saw Miller collapse, and heard him tell two companions he had been shot.

Layden said he did not know the men, but agreed with Zucker that the victim was Miller.

The trial is expected to last into next week. Zucker said Wint was expected to take the stand to defend himself.

If Wint is convicted, he will likely be sent back to Pennsylvania to finish his sentence before being returned to New Jersey to serve time.

"We actually had to get a governor's agreement ... that we could borrow Wint before he was indicted" in New Jersey, said Matt Weintraub, chief deputy district attorney for Bucks County.

"Borrowing" Wint from Camden County allowed the Pennsylvania prosecutor to charge Wint with third-degree murder and get a "quick" conviction, Weintraub said.

According to authorities, Wint was lying low with a small-time drug dealer in Warminster at the time of the Newman murder. Wint and John Briggs, who also was tried and sentenced in Bucks County in Newman's killing, beat the victim, and then Wint stabbed him to death.


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