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NJ Man Gets 94 Years For 2 Gang Slayings

ELIZABETH, N.J. (AP) — A New Jersey man convicted in the shooting deaths of a young boy and a man who were mistaken for gang members has received a lengthy prison term.

Edariel “Riddick” Melendez, who Union County prosecutors said was a member of the Crips street gang, received a 94-year term on Friday. He had to serve 85-percent — about 80 years — before becoming eligible for parole.

The 22-year-old Elizabeth resident was convicted in June of murder, conspiracy and weapons offenses for his roles in the November 2007 shootings in Elizabeth.

Prosecutors said 13-year-old Elijah Henderson was killed while riding a bicycle, and a friend with him was wounded. Two days later, 54-year-old Celso Pedra was gunned down.

Authorities said Melendez and another man were seeking retaliation against rival gang members for the murder of another Crips member.

(Copyright 2010 The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.)

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