NJ man gets 10 years in 1978 murder of 5 teens

Lee Anthony Evans (left), 56, of Irvington, and Philander Hampton, 53, of Jersey City.

October 3, 2011 9:48:14 AM PDT
A man has been sentenced to 10 years in prison after pleading guilty to the 1978 murders of five New Jersey teenagers in what was one of the state's longest-running cold cases.

Fifty-four-year-old Philander Hampton, who has been in jail since his March 2010 arrest, could be paroled soon because of 1978 guidelines that allow release after serving 20 percent of a sentence.

Hampton says he and another man lured the teens to an abandoned house in Newark then locked them inside and set the house on fire, in a dispute allegedly over stolen drugs.

The Star-Ledger of Newark reports that Booker Murray, whose brother, Melvin Pittman, was a victim, told the court the punishment was too lenient.

Hampton has agreed to testify against a second suspect, Lee Evans, who is his cousin.

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