Gang Member Gets 212 Years for Newark School Killings

Slaying victims T. Aeriel, I. Hightower and D. Harvey
Slaying victims T. Aeriel, I. Hightower and D. Harvey

The horrifically brutal slayings of three college-age students in a Newark, N.J., schoolyard shocked the city back in 2007. The victims, along with a fourth friend who survived, were all either enrolled in or planning to attend Delaware State University that coming fall. Their dreams were cut short by several thugs who hacked at them with a machete and then shot them execution-style. Thanks to a sentence imposed yesterday, the third man convicted in the slayings, Alexander Alfaro, will never again see the light of day.

A Newark gangmember who hacked at three college-bound students with a machete before his cohort shot them execution-style was sentenced Thursday to 212 years in prison.

Alexander Alfaro, 20, was convicted last month of the robbery murders of Terrance Aeriel, Dashon Harvey and Iofemi Hightower in a schoolyard in August 2007.

During the sentencing, the judge focused on testimony about Alfaro slashing so violently at one victim that the machete became embedded in her skull.

"The machete-wielding Alexander Alfaro hacked her head and hacked her body … The force he used to hack her skull with the machete was such that the blade was embedded in her skull and he had to pry the blade out. That's the evidence. That's the evidence of what he did. That's how Alfaro sent her to the after-life," state Superior Court Judge Michael Ravin said, according to the Newark Star-Ledger.

Alfaro, who was 16 at the time of the murders, is the third person to receive consecutive life sentences in the case. He must serve 180 years before he is eligible for parole.

SOURCE: Daily News.

A survivor, Natasha Aeriel, testified at the trial. She survived a shot to the head to go on and carry the torch for her slain friends by graduating from Delaware State last year.

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Sheryl Huggins Salomon is senior editor-at-large of The Root and a Brooklyn, N.Y.-based editorial consultant. Follow her on Twitter.