Newark Homicide Suspect Dies While Detained in Essex County Correctional Facility on Murder Charges
A Newark, NJ woman charged with murder and criminal weapons offenses recently died while she was being held at the Essex County Jail. The suspect, 30-year-old Turqoise Williams, was incarcerated in the Essex County Correctional Facility while prosecutors decided how to proceed with her case. She was placed under arrest on May 5 after being implicated for the killing of Virdea Beard. According to law enforcement officials, Williams used a gun to shoot and kill Beard outside a residence on the 200 block of North 9th Street in Newark, New Jersey. Beard sustained several gunshot wounds in the shooting and was later pronounced dead at the scene.
The fatal shooting incident happened on April 28. One week later, Newark police arrested Williams. Since that time, she had been detained at the Essex County Jail without bail. That’s because new bail guidelines in NJ allow the State to keep defendants in certain violent crime cases held behind bars while their cases go through the criminal justice process. (The purpose of the bail reform is to protect members of the public from potentially violent offenders.) At Williams’ initial bail hearing, prosecutors described the murder as a “domestic violence killing” because Williams and Beard were reportedly dating.
Maximum Penalties in NJ Murder Cases
Williams faces numerous criminal charges: murder, witness tampering, unlawful possession of a weapon, and possession of a weapon for an unlawful purpose. Williams also faced charges for a certain persons offense for being a convicted felon who was illegally in possession of a firearm – remarkably, alleged prosecutors, Williams showed up to the Essex County courthouse with a handgun.
If Williams had not passed away and had eventually stood trial in Essex County Superior Court, she would have been subject to significant penalties. As set forth by N.J.S.A. 2C:11-3, first degree murder is a special kind of felony offense. While most first degree felonies in NJ can result in a maximum punishment of 20 years in prison, first degree murder has a minimum penalty of 30 years in state prison and a maximum penalty of life imprisonment.
However, Williams’ case did not reach the trial stage because she died while in custody at the Essex County Correctional Facility in Newark, NJ. A spokesperson for the Essex County Prosecutor’s Office indicated that Williams passed away on October 22. Authorities have not announced the exact cause of her death. The Newark medical examiner will be conducting an autopsy and should issue an official report at some point.
Free Consultation with Experienced Newark Criminal Lawyers About Your Murder Charges
If you’ve been charged with a violent crime such as murder or aggravated assault in Newark, you need an experienced criminal defense lawyer on your side. The aggressive criminal attorneys at the Tormey Law Firm have handled numerous cases in Essex County Superior Court, so they know how to defend you against felony charges. Contact us anytime to schedule a free consultation.