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Suspect In Teens’ 1978 Deaths Due In Court Tuesday

Lee Evans and Philander Hampton - Photos: Essex County Prosecutor

Lee Evans and Philander Hampton – Photos: Essex County Prosecutor

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

Lee Evans and his cousin are accused of killing the teens in a dispute over missing drugs. Prosecutors said the men herded the teens at gunpoint into an abandoned building and set it on fire.

The 56-year-old Irvington resident has maintained he’s innocent. 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.

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

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