3 in Short Hills Mall carjacking murder avoid life sentences after plea deal

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Darla Miles has more from the emotional day in court as three suspects avoided life sentences after a plea deal. (WABC)

Three men behind a deadly carjacking at a New Jersey mall were sentenced Thursday after agreeing to a plea deal that allowed them to avoid life terms.

Kevin Roberts, Karif Ford and Hanif Thompson pleaded guilty for their roles in a carjacking at the Short Hills Mall in December 2013 that led to the fatal shooting of 30-year-old Dustin Friedland.

Thompson fired the deadly shots, and he was the first to appear during the three-hour hearing. He pleaded guilty to felony murder and criminal possession of a weapon and received a 30-year sentence.

Friedland's wife, Jamie Friedland, testified against her husband's killers last year and also delivered an emotional victim impact statement.

"I hope you think about the scene you left me with, the life you left me with, the agony you let me in," she said. "I hope you get just as many flashbacks as I do, have just as much fear as I have, just as much uncertainty in your futures as I do. I hope the image and the chaos and the nightmare you left me with stays just as seared in your brain as it is in mine."

Watch her full, emotional statement here:
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Watch the emotional impact statement given by Jamie Friedland, wife of a man who was murdered in the a 2013 Short Hills Mall carjacking.


Roberts and Ford pleaded guilty to carjacking and will serve 20 years, eligible for parole after 17. Ford was the only one to address the court, crying as he apologized to the family.

"Let me begin by saying to the family of Dustin, mother, father, to Mrs. Jamie Friedland, the wife of Dustin, my condolences go out to you all, and I'm sorry that this happened," he said. "To Mrs. Jamie Friedland, I just want to let you know, and the whole Friedland family to know, that I'm not the one who attacked Dustin. Honorable Judge Micheal L. Ravin, the justice system is unfair. To my family and friends, I just want you all to know that I'm not the one who did this. Before I go, I just want to let the whole Friedland family to know that my condolences go out to you, well, especially the mother and father, and to Mrs. Jamie Friedman, the wife of Dustin."

The victim's father, Wayne Friedman, also read an impact statement voicing his displeasure with the plea deal.

"I live with the anxiety of if or when they do get out of prison, they will return to their awful criminal past," he said. "I live with this fear because the state of New Jersey does not have the courage or sense to implement the death penalty for these types of inhumane crimes."

Basim Henry, the getaway driver, was the only suspect to go to trial. He was convicted of murder and criminal possession of a weapon and was sentenced to life in prison last year.



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Related Topics:
carjackingshort hills mall murdermurdershootingShort HillsEssex County
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