Acting Essex County Prosecutor Robert D. Laurino announced today that an Essex County jury has convicted Kanem Williamson, 22, of Newark of aggravated manslaughter for shooting a woman at the Bradley Court housing community in Newark.
Following a trial before the Honorable Siobhan Teare, Judge of the Superior Court, Williamson was convicted today of aggravated manslaughter, a first-degree crime which carries a sentence of 10 to 30 years. He was also convicted of unlawful possession of a weapon and possession of a weapon for an unlawful purpose.
Williamson shot the victim, Amera Bell, 35, also of Newark eleven times with a 9 mm Ruger handgun. At least five of those gunshots struck Bell. The shooting took place on May 5, 2014 outside of 84 North Munn Avenue, Bell’s residence.
One of the bullets severed Bell’s spine, leaving her a quadriplegic, paralyzed below her neck. Bell lived in a hospital bed for 11 months but ultimately died on April 7, 2015 as a result of complications from the gunshot wounds.
Assistant Prosecutor Justin Edwab, who tried the case, said, “Justice was served in this case. The defendant’s actions not only took the life of Ms. Bell, but victimized her loving family, who attended to her needs during her 11 months of hospitalization. This verdict is a direct result of the tireless investigative efforts of the Newark Police Department, the Essex County Prosecutor’s Office and witnesses who came forward to see that justice was done. Hopefully, the verdict brings some measure of solace to the Bell family.’’
Sentencing is scheduled for Dec. 1.
Previously, Williamson pled guilty in an unrelated case to unlawful possession of a handgun. That incident also occurred in Newark. He is expected to be sentenced for that offense at the same time he is sentenced for the homicide. Under the terms of the plea agreement he is expected to be sentenced to 42 months in New Jersey State Prison with a 42-month period of parole ineligibility for that offense which occurred approximately eight months before the shooting of Bell.