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$5 Million Settlement In Newark Schoolyard Murder Lawsuit

From left: Victims Terrance Aeriel, Iofemi Hightower and Dashon Harvey (credit: CBS 2)

From left: Victims Terrance Aeriel, Iofemi Hightower and Dashon Harvey (credit: CBS 2)

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NEWARK, N.J. (CBSNewYork/AP) — The families of three college-bound friends murdered in a Newark schoolyard in 2007 have reached a $5 million settlement Tuesday in a lawsuit against the city and state.

The settlement was announced in court Tuesday, several weeks into a civil trial.

The state attorney general’s office said the Department of Education is responsible for $3 million and the Newark school district is liable for $2 million. The state has oversight of the Newark schools.

Neither defendant admitted liability.

The state is suing an insurance company that has refused to indemnify it in the lawsuit.

Iofemi Hightower, Dashon Harvey and Terrance Aeriel were shot behind Newark’s Mount Vernon School on Aug. 4, 2007. Six men and boys arrested for the murders have pleaded guilty or been convicted and are serving combined sentences of more than 1,000 years.

The suit, brought by the families of the victims and a fourth victim who survived the attack, claimed the Mount Vernon School was negligent by leaving the playground open at night when it was a known gang hangout.

According to the lawsuit, the school’s security cameras did not work and the playground was poorly lit.

Do you think the settlement is fair? Leave your comments below…

(TM and © Copyright 2013 CBS Radio Inc. and its relevant subsidiaries. CBS RADIO and EYE Logo TM and Copyright 2013 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 This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.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.)