DONALD C. CAMPOLO, Acting Essex County Prosecutor

For Immediate Release
Wednesday, April 24, 2002

Newark Man Pleads Guilty in Shooting Death of Innocent Bystander
Acting Prosecutor Donald C. Campolo announced today that defendant, Jovar Persha, age 18 at the time of the
offense, from Newark, New Jersey plead guilty before the Honorable F. Michael Giles to reckless manslaughter in
the fatal shooting of Dwayne Branigan, age 19, from the Bronx, New York.

The defendant, one of three persons charged in the death of Branigan provided the gun that was used in the fatal
shooting of Malik Yarrell. The incident arose out of an altercation that occurred on May 25, 2000 in the vicinity of
21st Street and Madison Avenue in Irvington, New Jersey. Information received by the police relative to this
incident indicated that Jamillah Bearfield, a third co-defendant, had an earlier dispute with a man at a relative’s
store over “crab legs”. Later Bearfield drove to Newark with friends, solicited the assistance of Yarrell who
obtained a gun from Persha and returned to the area of the earlier argument. In the vicinity of 21st Street and
Madison, Bearfield saw the person that had allegedly struck her as he stood in the middle of the street. She pointed
him out to Yarrell who was seated in the rear passenger seat of the auto. He fired shots at the alleged participant,
missing him and striking Branigan who was returning to his vehicle with a cousin after playing basketball at
Montgomery Street Playground. Branigan was an innocent bystander.

Co-defendant, Malik Yarrell, age 26 at the time of the incident, plead guilty to First Degree Murder and weapons
counts on December 18, 2000 before the Honorable Harold Fullilove.

The matter involving Jamillah Bearfield is awaiting trial in the fall of 2002.

Update:On April 24, 2002, Persha plead guilty to Second Degree Reckless Manslaughter and was sentenced before
the Honorable F. Michael Giles on July 5, 2002 to six years. He must serve 85% of his sentence under the No Early
Release Act (NERA).
CONTACT: CHARLOTTE L. SMITH, Executive Assistant Prosecutor (973) 621-4623

Essex County Prosecutor's Office (973) 621-4700

Essex County Courts Building

Newark, New Jersey 07102