NEWARK, N.J. (CBSNewYork/AP) — A jury has convicted a man of murder in the first trial for the 2013 deadly carjacking of a Hoboken attorney at The Mall at Short Hills.
Basim Henry stood and watched as the jury delivered guilty verdicts on all counts Friday.
Prosecutors say Henry was among four men involved in the December 2013 carjacking and fatal shooting of Dustin Friedland at the Short Hills mall in Millburn. They say Henry served as the getaway driver.
The victim’s wife, Jamie Friedland, testified during the trial that she saw her husband struggling with two men in the parking deck before he was shot.
“My heart goes out to the Friedland family,” Assistant Prosecutor Ralph Amirata said after the verdict. “This is one step closer to closure for Jamie and the Friedland family.”
“She’s a very strong young lady. She’s handled it as well as anyone could expect,” Amirata added.
Video from the mall shows an SUV driven by Henry leave the garage, followed by Friedland’s Range Rover. The Range Rover was recovered in Newark the next day behind an abandoned house.
As CBS2’s Tony Aiello reported, Friedland’s attorney watched a courtroom feed of the verdict and called her with the news.
“Jamie is grateful for the verdict and the hard work of the prosecutors and investigators who brought this criminal to justice,” he said in a statement.
Jamie moved many to tears with her brave testimony about that terrible night.
“I saw Dustin laying there in a pool of blood and I ran over to him. I was screaming stay with me, stay with me. I know he heard me. I know he heard me,” she said during the trial.
Friedland’s mother Rose and sister Deanna held hands and each other as the verdicts were announced.
Defense lawyer Michael Rubas argued Henry wasn’t responsible for the shooter’s actions. But prosecutors said Henry “knew force was necessary” to get the vehicle.
“He drove the car, he got the car there. So we were going through it systematically with the evidence,” Amirata said.
Essex County Prosecutor Carolyn Murray said prosecutors stand ready to try the next three cases.
“This is definitely a step forward and whatever means we can use to expedite the rest of the other three we definitely will,” she said.
Members of the jury left without commenting. Their questions during deliberations seemed to indicate that they struggled with New Jersey law allowing murder charges against all parties involved no matter what their role.
(© Copyright 2017 CBS Broadcasting Inc. All Rights Reserved. The Associated Press contributed to this report.)