Suspects appear in New Jersey court in murders of 2 teenagers

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Darla Miles has the latest on the arrests in two separate murder cases involving teenagers. (WABC)

Four suspects arrested in the murders of two New Jersey teenagers made their first court appearances Wednesday.

Nineteen-year-old Brendan Tevlin and 17-year-old Cheyanne Bond were shot to death in separate incidents at the end of June.

Now, 29-year-old Ali Muhammad Brown, 19-year-old Jeremy Villagran and 18-year-old Eric Williams are charged in Tevlin's murder, while 31-year-old Andre Fields is charged in Bond's death.

Brown, Villagran and Williams all pleaded not guilty Wednesday in the killing of Tevlin. In the same courtroom, Fields pleaded not guilty to the murder of Bond.

Prosecutors say Brown, a fugitive wanted for two murders in Washington state, fled to New Jersey where he allegedly teamed up with two acquaintances to shoot Tevlin while was stopped at a red light in his grandfather's car.

Tevlin, a University of Richmond sophomore, was driving through West Orange on his way home to Livingston when the three men, following him in another car, jumped out and surrounded him, Essex County District Attorney Carolyn Murray said.

Brown shot Tevlin through the passenger-side window, hitting him 10 times, Murray said. Tevlin's car was then driven to an apartment complex in West Orange with Tevlin inside, and some of his personal belongings were stolen.

Brown was wanted by police in Seattle in the shooting deaths of two young men shortly after they left a gay nightclub on June 1. He also was wanted on warrants for failure to register as a sex offender, according to newspaper reports.

Murray said U.S. marshals and New Jersey state police picked up Brown's trail after an alleged robbery and attempted carjacking in Point Pleasant on June 29, four days after Tevlin was killed. The prosecutor's office disseminated a photo of Brown to news media three weeks ago. Authorities believe Brown had previous ties to New Jersey and to his alleged accomplices.

Murray said Monday that results of ballistics tests from the Tevlin shooting were put into a national database and matched with the gun that was used in the Seattle murders.

Brown was found hiding in the woods in West Orange on July 18. He was charged with murder, felony murder, robbery, conspiracy and weapons offenses. Villagran and Williams face felony murder, robbery, conspiracy and weapons charges. His bail was set at $5 million; Villagran and Williams were held on $1 million bail.

Bond, a high school cheerleader from Irvington who had recently graduated, was walking with a male friend in west Newark, about a block from West Side Park, on June 29 when they were approached by two assailants who stole an iPhone and shot both, Murray said. The unidentified friend survived.

Fields, of Irvington, is charged with murder, felony murder, robbery, conspiracy and weapons offenses in those shootings. His bail was set at $1 million. The second suspect is at large.
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