Second suspect arrested in Seton Hall shootings

September 30, 2010 4:15:22 AM PDT
The second suspect in the shooting of the five people - one fatally - at an off-campus party near Seton Hall University was arrested on Wednesday as the first suspect entered a not guilty plea in court. Marcus Bascus, 19, of East Orange was taken into custody without incident in Wilkes-Barre, Pennsylvania by officers for the United State Marshals Services, Essex County Prosecutor's Office and the East Orange Police.

Bascus has been charged with murder, conspiracy to commit murder, four counts of attempted murder and weapons charges.

Bail was set at $2 million.

Earlier, the first suspect appeared in court. Wearing an orange jumpsuit and with light facial hair visible, Nicholas Welch answered only "Yes" to whether he understood the charges against him. The charges include murder, conspiracy and weapons offenses; attempted murder charges are also expected to be filed.

Welch's attorney, Gerald Saluti, entered the not guilty pleas on his behalf during the 15-minute hearing and asked that his client remain in protective custody in jail. Following that, Essex County Assistant Prosecutor Romesh Sukhdeo presented Saluti with request to take a DNA swab from Welch. Saluti said he would not fight the request.

Bail was also set at $2 million for him.

Police arrested Welch on Monday night at his house on the same East Orange street where the deadly shooting happened.

Police said Welch tried to enter a fraternity party, was refused admittance and then returned moments later with a gun and started firing. Jessica Moore, a 19-year-old honors student from Disputanta, Va., who was majoring in psychology at Seton Hall, was one of five people shot. She died later that day.

"Words cannot express the pain, the loss, the huge hole in our hearts and souls," Moore's aunt said.

It took her aunt more than an hour to muster emotional strength to face cameras and talk about her murdered niece.

"Jessica Moore was a beautiful reflection of herself, her family, her generation and God," she said.

Jessica was struck in the head.

"The shooting did not stop until he emptied his gun," Acting Essex County Prosecutor Robert Laurino said.

The injuries to the other four victims weren't considered life-threatening. Two of the injured were 19-year-old women who go to Seton Hall, and one was a 25-year-old man who attends the New Jersey Institute of Technology. The other was a 20-year-old man from New York who is not a student.

"He's in shock. He nervous. There's a huge amount of work. It's like a volcano. We have to let this all settle," Gerald Saluti, Welch's attorney, saod.

Welch's fiance says he is innocent.

"My baby father would never do this. He's a good person," Ebony said.

Prosecutors are asking for a sample of Welch's DNA to compare it to DNA from blood they say was left by the shooter after a scuffle at the party.

"We did get a hit on Welch and he was identified as the shooter," Laurino said.

The case will go before a grand jury review within months.

Moore's family prepares to bury her Saturday.

"Jessica has always been an angel. Now, God has given her her wings," her aunt said.