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Man Convicted In 2007 Newark School Yard Killings Seeks New Trial

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

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

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NEWARK, N.J. (CBSNewYork/AP) — One of six men found guilty in the 2007 slayings of three friends in a Newark school yard is seeking to overturn his conviction and wants a new trial.

Jose Carranza appeared in front of a judge in Newark on Wednesday, but the judge didn’t make an immediate decision on his request.

Carranza was sentenced to 155 years in prison following his conviction of felony murder and armed robbery.

The 35-year-old claims his attorney coerced him not to testify and failed to conduct any pretrial investigations.

But his attorney, John Dell’Italia, told The Star-Ledger of Newark that he advised his client against testifying because Carranza had provided written statements to an inmate that included drawings depicting the shootings.

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 of the violent MS-13 street gang.

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