Wednesday, January 8, 2014

Pleasantville Man Pleads Guilty to Aggravated Manslaughter in 2011 Murder

MAYS LANDING – A Pleasantville man has pleaded guilty to aggravated manslaughter in connection with the fatal shooting of a Somers Point man on Christmas Eve in 2011, Acting Atlantic County Prosecutor Jim McClain announced.
On Tuesday, Jan. 7, Lenny R. Ross, Jr., 31, entered a guilty plea to the charge of aggravated manslaughter for the murder of Steven Gurss, Jr., 28.
On Dec. 24, 2011, Gurss was discovered shot in the head inside of a vehicle outside of the Marina Del Ray Apartments located on Atlantic Avenue in Pleasantville. Gurss was transported to AtlantiCare Regional Medical Center, City Campus, where he was pronounced dead the next morning.

Following an investigation by the Atlantic County Prosecutor’s Office Major Crimes Unit and the Pleasantville Police Department, Ross was charged with murder and weapons offenses. On July 13, 2012, members of the Atlantic County Prosecutor’s Office Major Crimes Unit, the Atlantic City Police Department Special Investigations Unit and the Atlantic City Task Force arrested Ross in Atlantic City.
Ross’s trial was scheduled to commence today, however, Ross entered the plea agreement prior to opening statements.
In pleading guilty, Ross admitted to shooting Gurss following an altercation between the two men.
During the course of the homicide investigation, Teonka Williams, 28, of Pleasantville, provided false information to authorities in order to hinder Ross’s apprehension. Williams was charged with third-degree hindering apprehension. She also pleaded guilty today.
In accordance with the plea agreement, Ross will be sentenced at the discretion of the Court. He can receive a sentence of up to 30 years in state prison for the aggravated manslaughter charge. Ross must serve 85-percent of any sentence imposed before becoming eligible for parole.
If convicted of murder at trial, Ross would have faced up to a life sentence, according to Chief Assistant Prosecutor Janet Gravitz, who represented the State in the matter.
Williams will receive a term of probation.
Ross and Williams will be sentenced by Superior Court Judge Michael A. Donio on Feb. 7, 2014.

Anyone with information involving serious crimes is asked to call the Atlantic County Prosecutor’s Office at 609-909-7800 or go to the Prosecutor’s Office Web site at and provide information by filling out the form anonymously on the Submit a Tip page. People can also call Crime Stoppers at 609-652-1234 or 1-800-658-8477 (TIPS) or visit the Crime Stoppers Website at Crime Stoppers offers cash rewards for information leading to the arrest and indictment of those who commit crimes in Atlantic County.


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