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Newark Man Sentenced to Life in Prison for Murder

DATE:  1/26/2018
Mario Gayles

Jan. 26, 2018
Newark Man Sentenced to Life in Prison

Newark – Acting Essex County Prosecutor Robert D. Laurino announced today that Mario Gayles, 34, of Newark has been sentenced to life in prison by the Honorable John Zunic, Judge of the Superior Court, for the 2015 murder of Icrish Bostic, 33, of Irvington.

On Sept. 29, 2017 an Essex County jury convicted Gayles of murder, unlawful possession of a handgun and possession of a handgun for an unlawful purpose for the July 15, 2015 fatal shooting.

“The judge and jury in this case heard how the defendant shot the victim eleven times on a busy public street, not only killing the victim but endangering numerous civilians who were in close proximity. Given these facts and the defendant’s prior conviction for reckless manslaughter, life in prison was the only just outcome,” said Assistant Prosecutor Alexander Albu who tried the case.

The defendant and the victim grew up together in Irvington. They were childhood friends who lived together at one point in time. Witnesses indicated that the defendant and victim were close with one another right up to the time of the incident.

On July 15, 2015, Gayles and the victim had a heated verbal argument that resulted in a physical altercation on Springfield Avenue and Durand Place in Irvington. After the physical altercation ended, the defendant left the scene for about a minute and a half. He then returned with a gun and fired 11 times in the direction of the victim. Bostic, who was unarmed, was taken by surprise, according to Assistant Prosecutor Albu.

The defendant continued to fire at the victim from only a foot away as the victim laid helpless on the sidewalk. The gunfire struck the victim in his head, upper torso and legs, Assistant Prosecutor Albu said. Numerous civilians were in close proximity at the time of shooting, but no one else was injured, according to Assistant Prosecutor Albu.

After the incident, the defendant fled to Pennsylvania where he was eventually arrested.
The defendant gave a formal statement claiming that he was not in the area at the time of the incident, but the testimony of numerous witnesses contradicted the defendant’s version of events.
This is Gayles’ fifth adult felony conviction, his second for a homicide. In June of 2005, he pled guilty to reckless manslaughter for the May 20, 2003 death of Nicholas Paul in Irvington. Gayles, then known as Ameir Connell, and a co-defendant named Omar Gayles were charged with felony murder, aggravated manslaughter and robbery offenses in cases.
On Aug. 8, 2005, Gayles was sentenced to seven years in state prison. He served nearly six years before becoming eligible for parole.
On the sentence imposed today, Gayles must serve 85 percent of the life prison term, which is the equivalent to 75 years in state prison, before he is eligible for parole.

While sentencing Gayle, Judge Zunic noted Gayles’ long criminal history which includes 31 arrested, 19 as a juvenile starting at the age of 11. As an adult, Gayles has been arrested 12 times and has five felony convictions. Two of his convictions arise from conduct while incarcerated in state prison.

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