PATERSON, N.J. (CBSNewYork/AP) — Two men have pleaded not guilty to murder and weapons charges stemming from the death of a 12-year-old girl who was killed last summer by a stray bullet while riding a scooter in Paterson.
Jhymiere Moore, 20, and Jeffery Ellerbee, 21, both of Paterson, entered their pleas Monday during a brief court hearing, The Record newspaper reported.
Lawyers for both men have rejected a plea deal offered by Passaic County prosecutors that called for 40-year prison terms in exchange for their guilty pleas.
Moore, Ellerbee and another man are charged in the death of Genesis Rincon, who was shot in the head last July.
Rincon had left a family gathering to go to a nearby store with another girl and a boy, but the store was closed so the children headed back to the event, authorities said. They were taking turns riding the scooter and were about a block away from the gathering when multiple shots rang out.
Prosecutors have said the girl was not the intended victim.
The killing prompted Paterson residents to stage a rally calling for safer streets.
“I was born here in Paterson, and people going to do this?” the girl’s father, Alexis Rincon, said at the July rally. “Come on, man! It ain’t right. It ain’t right. And I’m going to stand up for my girl.”