TOMS RIVER, N.J. (CBSNewYork/AP) – A 20-year-old New Jersey man convicted of killing a Lakewood police officer has been sentenced to life in prison.
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Jahmell Crockam appeared before a judge in Ocean County on Thursday.
Authorities say because Crockam was convicted of murdering Patrolman Christopher Matlosz, the law requires a life sentence without the possibility of parole. The judge also tacked an extra seven years for a weapons offense onto Crockam’s life sentence.
“He should get the same treatment he gave Christopher,” said Matlosz’ mother, Jane Calaio.
A jury convicted Crockam of walking up to the officer’s police cruiser in January 2011 and shooting him three times at point-blank range.
“On Jan. 14 last year, that man, the defendant Jahmell Crockam, in broad daylight and in cold blood, executed Officer Christopher Matlosz of the Lakewood Police Department,” Chief Assistant Ocean County prosecutor William Heisler said during the trial. “The defendant was trying to avoid arrest and that’s why he committed this murder.”
Tanya Cook Peteete, the mother of one of Crockam’s friends, testified that Crockam told her a month before Matlosz was shot that he would kill a police officer rather than go to prison.
Peteete testified that Crockam left court without making a scheduled appearance in December 2010, and that she urged him to return before authorities issued an arrest warrant for him.
“He said he wasn’t going back to the court,” Cook Peteete testified. “He just said he’s not going back to jail. If he’s going to jail, it’s going to be for killing a cop.”
Heisler also said Crockam had confessed several times to acquaintances that he shot and killed the officer.
Crockam’s lawyer, Mark Fury, elected not to present a defense. Throughout the trial, he maintained that there was no reliable evidence or witnesses who could identify Crockam as the shooter.
Matlosz’s death was the second shooting incident involving a Lakewood police officer in recent years.
New Jersey police union president Anthony Weiners doesn’t think the sentence will bring the fallen officer’s loved ones any closure.
“I think this is something that you take to the grave,” he told WCBS 880 reporter Levon Putney.
He says it’s time to consider bringing back the death penalty for cop killers.
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