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NJ Man Accused In Teens’ 1978 Deaths Due In Court

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Lee Evans and Philander Hampton - Photos: Essex County Prosecutor

Lee Evans and Philander Hampton – Photos: Essex County Prosecutor

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NEWARK, N.J. (AP) – A man charged with murdering five New Jersey teens who disappeared in 1978 was due in court Tuesday.

Prosecutors said Lee Evans and his cousin killed the teens in a dispute over missing drugs.

The 56-year-old Irvington resident has insisted he is innocent, and his 53-year-old cousin, Philander Hampton of Jersey City, has pleaded not guilty.

Each man faces five counts of murder and one count of arson.

Prosecutors said the men herded the teens at gunpoint into an abandoned building and set it on fire.

The teens’ disappearance was one of the longest-running cold cases in the state’s history until authorities said there was a major break in the case about two years ago. They have not fully explained what the break entailed.

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 This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.)

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