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Trial Of Fifth Defendant In Newark Schoolyard Killings Set To Begin

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From left: Victims Terrence Aeriel, Ioefemi Hightower and Dashon Harvey (credit: CBS)

From left: Victims Terrence Aeriel, Ioefemi Hightower and Dashon Harvey (credit: CBS)

NEWARK, NJ (CBSNewYork/AP) – The trial of the fifth defendant in the Newark schoolyard killings is set to begin today.

Jose Carranza is charged with murder as well as sexually assaulting the only victim to survive the 2007 attack.

Dashon Harvey, Terrance Aeriel and Iofemi Hightower were shot execution-style behind Mount Vernon School weeks before they were to attend Delaware State University.

The three were lined up in front of a wall and each shot in the back of the head after being robbed. The fourth victim survived with gunshot and stab wounds and helped authorities identify two of the suspects.

Six suspects were caught within two weeks of the murders. Prosecutors have said the attack was orchestrated by a leader in the violent MS-13 street gang.

Four other defendants have either been convicted or pleaded guilty in the case.

Opening arguments for Carranza’s trial are begin at 10 a.m.

(TM and Copyright 2012 CBS Radio Inc. and its relevant subsidiaries. CBS RADIO and EYE Logo TM and Copyright 2011 CBS Broadcasting Inc. Used under license. All Rights Reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed. The Associated Press contributed to this report.)

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