Newark – Acting Essex County Prosecutor Robert D. Laurino announced today that an Essex County jury has convicted Rick King, 33, of Newark of fatally shooting Amit Patel, 28, of Edison, following a two-month trial before the Honorable Mark Ali, Judge of the Superior Court.
Authorities said on Sunday, Feb. 15, 2015, at approximately 3:36 pm, in Irvington at 701 Lyons Avenue, Roseway Liquors, King entered the business, forced the victim onto the floor and fired a single gun shot to his head at close range, killing Patel instantly.
King shot and killed Patel on that day to prevent him from being a eyewitness and testifying against him in connection with a previous armed robbery committed by King on Oct. 31, 2013 at the same location and involving the same victim.
Both the robbery and the murder were tried together.
Today, a jury convicted King of murder, witness tampering, armed robbery, aggravated assault on a police officer and numerous weapons offenses in connection with both incidents.
Despite the murder of victim/witness Patel, his statements were allowed in at trial.
That evidence along with video surveillance cameras show King’s conduct before, during and after the murder.
“The jurors’ verdict today sends a clear message that retaliation against witnesses will be aggressively prosecuted,” said Assistant Prosecutor Roger Imhof. “Such conduct will not be tolerated.’’
“The prosecution would like to commend the jurors for their unwavering focus during this long trial,’’ said Assistant Prosecutor Mira Ohm, who tried the case with Imhof. “Their verdict brings some measure of justice to the Patel family.’’
Sentencing has been scheduled for Jan. 19, 2018 before Judge Ali.
The defendant faces life without parole for the murdering of a witness.
The defendant has five prior felony convictions for weapons and drug offenses.