Sunday, August 23, 2015

Atlantic City Man Guilty of Aggravated Manslaughter for 2011 Shooting

MAYS LANDING – An Atlantic City man pled guilty to aggravated manslaughter today for the fatal shooting of a man found dead inside his Atlantic City home in 2011, Atlantic County Prosecutor Jim McClain announced.
On Feb. 16, 2011, at 1:45 p.m., officers of the Atlantic City Police Department responded to the Lighthouse Plaza, 300 Atlantic Avenue, Atlantic City, for the report of an odor emanating from a residence.
Police found the body of Bruce Bowers, 48, dead inside his apartment.
Atlantic City Police detectives, the Atlantic County Prosecutor’s Office Major Crimes Unit, and the Atlantic County Medical Examiner were called to the scene.

The cause of Bower’s death was determined to be a gunshot wound to the chest.
A three-year-long cooperative investigation by the Atlantic County Prosecutor’s Office Major Crimes Unit and the Atlantic City Police Department culminated in the arrest of Okese J. Smith, of the 1300 block of Magellan Avenue, Atlantic City, on May 8, 2014. Smith was arrested without incident at the residence of a relative on the 1300 block of Magellan Avenue, Atlantic City.
Because Smith was 17 years old at the time of the incident, he was charged on juvenile complaints.
Atlantic County Superior Court Judge Joseph L. Marczyk remanded Smith to be held in the Atlantic County Justice Facility.
On July 22, 2014, The Prosecutor’s Office made motion to Family Court that the court waive jurisdiction on the matter to Criminal Court, for Smith to be tried as an adult.
Judge Marczyk ordered the waiver, issued the adult criminal complaints, and set bail at $1,000,000—no 10%. Smith was returned to the Atlantic County Justice Facility, where he has remained since his arrest.
On December 18, 2014, an Atlantic County Grand Jury indicted Smith for murder, felony murder, robbery, possession of a firearm for an unlawful purpose, and unlawful possession of a handgun.
Today, Smith pled guilty before Atlantic County Superior Court Judge Mark Sandson to aggravated manslaughter. Pursuant to a negotiated plea agreement, Smith will face a term of incarceration in New Jersey State prison of 10 years. Pursuant to the No Early Release Act (NERA), Smith must serve 85% of the sentence—8 years and 6 months— before becoming eligible for parole.
Sentencing is scheduled for October 2, 2015. Assistant Prosecutor Eric Bergman represents the State in the matter.
This charge is merely an accusation and not proof of guilt. In all criminal cases, a charged defendant is presumed innocent unless and until proven guilty.

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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