Jeremiah Bowser, 18, of Newark, appeared in court Monday on conspiracy and burglary charges, after his arrest Friday in the same incident where police shot and killed two other teens suspected in a string of burglaries. Bowswer was ordered held in lieu of $500,000 bail, cash or bond.
NEWARK — An 18-year-old robbery suspect arrested in Newark Friday in the same raid where two other young men were shot and killed by police made his first court appearance Monday, when his bail was set at $500,000.
Jeremiah Bowser of Newark, who is charged with two counts of conspiracy to commit robbery, appeared on video in Central Judicial Processing court in Newark from the Essex County Correctional Facility, where he has been held since his arrest.
The Essex County Prosecutor's office identified the two dead men as Najier Salaam and George Richards-Meyers, both 18-year-old Newark residents.
Bowser, who was dressed for the appearance in an orange prison jumpsuit and had his hands bound behind his back, did not speak, except to tell Judge Sybil Alias his name and address.
The public defender handling the appearance, Nick Bergamatto, told Alias that his client wished to plead not guilty, and the judge entered the plea on his behalf.
The assistant Essex County prosecutor handling the appearance, Geralyn Inneo, had asked the judge to set bail at $500,000.
But Bergamatto told the judge that guidelines suggested a range of $100,000 to $250,000 on the charges, adding that Bowser had never been convicted of an indictable offense.
Weighing several factors she did not name, and the fact that Bowser had a juvenile record, Alias sided with the prosecutor's office, though she gave the defendant the option of posting a $500,000 bond in lieu of cash.
Authorities say Bowser was one of three men suspected in string of recent robberies around Newark, who officers were trying to arrest early Friday morning. They said the officers were responding to a 6:30 a.m. report of suspicious activity on the 500 Block of North 7th Street, near Abington Avenue.
Authorities say Bowser was inside a vehicle at the scene, then got out and tried to flee. They said he was caught by police and placed under arrest, while the other two were shot and killed.
Residents of North 7th Street described a chaotic scene involving yelling, young men running back an forth, a red minivan trying to drive away, and 10 to 15 shots being fired.
Authorities say six police officers were involved in the incident. None were reported injured, though all six were evaluated at University Hospital in Newark, said James Stewart Jr., president of the Newark Fraternal Order of Police, the officers' union.
Stewart has defended the officers' actions, asserting that the three teenagers, "were not interested in surrendering."
At first, authorities said a 17-year-old male had been involved in the incident. However, he was later identified as the 18-year-old Bowser.
Authorities also said they recovered a gun from the scene.Steve Strunsky may be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.
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