News

Jury Selection To Begin In Trial Of Man Charged In 1978 Newark Murders

Lee Evans (credit: CBS 2)

Lee Evans (credit: CBS 2)

NEWARK, N.J. (CBSNewYork/AP) – Jury selection is set to begin Friday in the case that rocked Newark more that 30 years ago.

Lee Evans will go on trial in the murder of five teenagers in 1978.

Evans and and his cousin Philander Hampton are accused of luring the boys on Aug. 20, 1978 to an abandoned house, locking them inside and setting the home on fire.

Prosecutors said the suspects believed the teens had stolen drugs from them.

Hampton pleaded guilty and is expected to testify against Evans.

The bodies of the five teens — Melvin Pittman, Ernest Taylor, Alvin Turner, Randy Johnson and Michael McDowell — were never recovered, and the fire destroyed nearly all evidence and hampered the investigation.

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 three years ago.

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