New hearing held for convicted Newark schoolyard killer hoping to have conviction overturned

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Eyewitness News reporter Tim Fleischer has the latest details from Newark.

It was a vicious shocking crime, the cold-blooded murders of three friends in a school yard.

Now, one of those found guilty is hoping to have his conviction thrown out.

Heavily shackled, at his hands and his feet, Alexander Alfaro was surrounded by greater security than usual for this hearing.

This convicted killer is making his last legal effort to have his conviction overturned.

Alfaro, now 26 years old is entitled to this post-conviction relief hearing to determine whether or not he received adequate legal counsel during his trial in 2011.

All of his other appeals have been exhausted.

"Your attorneys, both your trial attorney and appellate attorney, the attorneys that represented you in the past, they are going to be taking the stand and testifying. Is that your understanding?" the judge asked.

"Yes," Alfaro said.

Alfaro was one of six men to be convicted in the killings of Iofemi Hightower, Dashon Harvey and Terrance Aeriel.

Natasha Aeriel, Terrance's sister, was shot but survived.

The four were enjoying time together in this school yard in August of 2007 when the three were brutally murdered.

Alfaro slashed Iofemi with a machete before she was shot.

"Maybe now Iofemi can, she can rest in peace knowing that this one who did that to her is gone for life," said Shalga Hightower, the victim's mother.

But now her mother and other family members of the victims are forced to relive painful memories during this hearing 10 years after the murders.

Alfaro, who was sentenced to 212 years in prison, is questioning the counsel in his trial.

"He's a kid, a scared little kid," said Raymond Morasse, Alfaro's former attorney.

His attorney back then was called to testify at this hearing.

"Is it fair to say that you haven't worked on any case in your entire career as hard as you have worked on Mr. Alfaro's case?" the judge asked.

"That would be a fair statement," Morasse said.

After the hearing, the judge will render his decision sometime in the near future.

Another defendant sought to have his conviction overturned. He was unsuccessful.
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