Acting Essex County Prosecutor Theodore N. Stephens, II, announced today that an Essex County Jury has convicted Zaki Jones, 35, of Newark on all counts for the murder of Naji Everett, 26, of Orange.
According to authorities, on Dec. 17, 2015, Everett was fatally shot outside a residence in the 100 block of Joyce Street in West Orange.
Following a trial before the Honorable Verna G. Leath, Judge of the Superior Court, the jury convicted Jones of murder, conspiracy to commit murder, unlawful possession of a weapon, possession of a weapon for an unlawful purpose and being a convicted felon with a firearm.
“This could not have been accomplished without the efforts of the West Orange Police Department, the Essex County Prosecutor’s Office and the witnesses who cooperated,’’ said Assistant Prosecutor Justin Edwab, who tried the case with Assistant Prosecutor Sam Hanna.
“It is satisfying that the jury has served justice in this case by finding the defendant guilty of killing Naji Everett by shooting him numerous times at point-blank range. The jury returned the only fair verdict in this brutal homicide,” Assistant Prosecutor Hanna added.
Sentencing is scheduled for March 25. Jones, who has prior convictions for carjacking, eluding police and receiving stolen property, is facing life in prison.
Officials say five months before the murder, Jones was released on parole after serving a 14-year sentence for carjacking.
In addition to Jones, Rasuan Foster, 29, of East Orange, and Jarret Mceachin, 29, of Orange were also charged with the murder of Everett. Mceachin entered a guilty plea and is serving a 20-year sentence. Foster’s case is pending.
He is expected to go to trial in the Spring according to officials.