The third of six defendants has been sentenced to more than 200 years for the gruesome 2007 execution-style slayings of three Newark college friends—including one who he hacked with a machete before shooting. A fourth victim survived. At least two of the college students were gay.
In April, a jury convicted Alexander Alfaro on 16 of 17 counts related to the attack. On Thursday, Alfaro was sentenced to 212 years in prison, reports the Star-Ledger. Alfaro received 60 years each on two of the murders and 75 years on the third. The terms are consecutive. Alfaro was also sentenced to a 17-year consecutive term for armed robbery.
Terrance Aeriel, Iofemi Hightower and Dashon Harvey were killed August 4, 2007 when they were shot execution style in a schoolyard. Aeriel's sister was shot and sexually assaulted but survived. Harvey and Hightower were openly gay. The friends "planned to drive together" to New York City the next morning to attend a Black Gay Pride event. Hightower, a lesbian, was also sexually assaulted. All four victims were enrolled or about to be enrolled at Delaware State University.
Alfaro is the second of three adults and three teens to be tried for the violent gang initiation. His half-brother, Rodolfo Godinez, was convicted last year and a third man, Melvin Jovel, pleaded guilty. They are serving life terms. Three others await trial.
In 2007, Rod 2.0 reported one of the teen suspects attended high school with one of the gay victims—and this may have been among the reasons the victims were targeted. Prosecutors declined to file hate crime charges because the victims' families "did not want" the deceased identified as gay.
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