HACKENSACK, N.J. (CBSNewYork) — A New Jersey mother was in court to face the men accused of murdering her teenage daughter.
Opening statements began Wednesday, in a deadly drive-by shooting. A teenager was gunned down, and a wounded friend testified.
As CBS2’s Hazel Sanchez exclusively reported, Kamilah Bugg broke down in a Hackensack courtroom after hearing in detail how her 14-year-old daughter Nazerah Bugg was gunned down on a Paterson street in September of 2014 — a bullet pierced through her heart and lung.
Prosecutors said the basketball star, who dreamed of going pro, was an innocent victim of a neighborhood gang fight.
“They took Nazerah Buggs’ dreams away,” Passaic County Chief Assistant Prosecutor, Paul De Groot told the court.
Prosecutors said Nyje Johnson and Jeavonte Dennis — standing trial together on murder charges — are among ten people accused of being involved in the drive by shooting that left Bugg dead, and one of her friends severely injured.
The 17-year-old survivor — who the judge asked CBS2 not to identify — told the jury how she and Bugg tried to run for safety.
“I told them I was shot. They thought I was playing, but when I touched my back, blood started coming down,” the survivor said.
Prosecutors said Dennis and Johnson were with a group in the car that took part in the shooting.
“Four men armed with 40 caliber, 9 mm, blaze away at them, 15 rounds bam, bam, bam, bam, bam, bam, bam, bam, bam, bam, bam, bam, bam, bam, bam! That’s war,” De Groot said.
Attorneys for both defendants said there’s no evidence linking them to the shootings. Weapons were never recovered.
Two of the ten defendants in the case accepted plea deals, the remaining defendants are awaiting trial.
Dennis and Johnson were offered a plea deal for 15 years, but they would have to cooperate with the case. The men could face up to life in prison if found guilty.