The Fifth Suspect in New Year's Eve Franklin Homicide Apprehended
FRANKLIN TWP. – Somerset County Prosecutor Michael H. Robertson and Somerset County Prosecutor's Office Chief of County Detectives John W. Fodor announced the arrest of Luther Waters, III, 21, Denise Court, Somerset, the fifth suspect charged with the New Year's Eve homicide of Samaad Frazier, 19, Jill Court, Somerset.
Prosecutor Robertson stated that on Friday, January 24, at approximately 2:10 p.m., defendant Luther Waters III was apprehended by detectives from the Somerset County Prosecutor's Office Major Crimes Unit and the Franklin Township Police Department in the area of Francis Road, East Brunswick.
Officials say detectives assigned to the investigation had been searching for defendant Waters and followed up on leads for his whereabouts. Defendant Waters III was taken into custody without incident after he was observed by detectives traveling in a motor vehicle.
Defendant Waters III was charged with first-degree Murder and lodged in the Somerset County Jail, pending a bail detention hearing.
Prosecutor Robertson stated that on Tuesday, December 31, 2019, at approximately 3:26 p.m., Franklin Township Police responded to a 9-1-1 call reporting multiple shots fired in the area of Churchill Avenue, Franklin Township.
Upon arrival, officers located a male shooting victim who was identified as Samaad Frazier,19, Jill Court, Somerset Section of Franklin Township, near the rear of a residence inside of a motor vehicle on Churchill Avenue.
Officers immediately rendered life-saving medical aid along with responding to emergency medical personnel. The victim was transported to an area trauma center where he subsequently succumbed to his injuries and was pronounced deceased.
A post-mortem examination was subsequently performed by the New Jersey Northern Regional Medical Examiner's Office, which ruled the death a homicide.
Prosecutor Robertson stated that additional responding Franklin Township Patrol Officers responding to the shooting scene observed the suspect vehicle which had been broadcasted to responding officers fleeing at a high rate of speed on Hamilton Street and Berry Street, Franklin Township.
Officers attempted to stop the vehicle, at which time the vehicle failed to stop and eluded the responding officers. A vehicle pursuit was initiated with the suspect vehicle, which continued to flee from police and eventually crashed at the intersection of Easton Avenue and Oakland Avenue, Franklin Township.
The five occupants inside the suspect vehicle fled on foot in different directions, with Franklin Officers initiating foot pursuit of the suspects. One of the occupants was captured fleeing the vehicle by a Franklin Township detective and Franklin Patrol Officers.
The suspect who was identified as Gavin M. Owens-Jones, 18, Barker Road, Franklin Township, was armed with a semi-automatic handgun.
The detective, along with Officers ordered defendant Owens-Jones to drop his weapon, which he subsequently complied and was taken into custody. Two additional suspects were taken into custody by Franklin Patrol Officers as they attempted to flee the scene on foot. They were identified as Jeffrey J. Grant Jr., 19, Culver Street, Somerset, and a sixteen-year-old Somerset male juvenile identified as I.S.
Prosecutor Robertson stated that on January 2, a fourth shooting suspect, a 16-year-old Somerset male juvenile, identified as T.H. was taken into custody without incident.
Defendant Owens-Jones was charged with first-degree murder, second-degree possession of a weapon for an unlawful purpose, and fourth-degree eluding by flight. Defendant Jeffrey Grant was charged with first-degree Murder and fourth-degree eluding by flight.
Defendants Owens-Jones and Grant remain lodged at the Somerset County Jail. Juvenile I.S. was charged with fourth-degree eluding and released to a family member pending a family court appearance. Juvenile T.H. was charged with first-degree Murder and remains lodged at the Middlesex County Youth Detention Center according to officials.