By: Yuritza Arroyo
Atlantic County authorities announced that on February 23 jury convicted Jermaine Wharton, 33, of Pleasantville, on First-Degree Murder, First-Degree Felony Murder, First-Degree Carjacking, Second- Degree Possession of a Weapon for Unlawful Purpose, and Second-Degree Unlawful Possession of a Handgun Without a Permit.
According to officials, Wharton was charged in December of 2021 with murder, felony murder, carjacking, unlawful possession of a weapon for an illegal purpose, and possession of a handgun without a permit.
Pleasantville Police say on November 13, 2021, at approximately 9:19 a.m., officers were dispatched to a Shotspotter response in the 900th block of North Main Street.
Upon arrival, the police located the victim, Ivan Smith, lying on the ground from a gunshot wound.
According to Police, Smith was pronounced dead on the scene.
Detectives reviewed surveillance footage and talked to a number of witnesses.
According to Police, based on that investigation, detectives learned that the defendant unsuccessfully attempted to break into a witness' car and approached the victim and his vehicle.
Shortly after, there was a gunshot, and the victim was found dead.
Police say the defendant was later identified as the man who approached the victim before the gunshot and stole the victim’s car, driving it to Millville.
Sentencing is scheduled for March 31.
Pursuant to the murder statute, Wharton faces a minimum of 30 years in New Jersey State Prison, where he must serve all 30 years without parole.