Four men charged in the fatal carjacking of a young lawyer at an upscale New Jersey mall 10 days before Christmas pleaded not guilty to felony murder and other charges at their arraignment.
Twenty-nine year-old Hanif Thompson of Irvington and Newark residents Karif Ford, 31, Basim Henry, 32, and Kevin Roberts, 33, are accused in the Dec. 15 carjacking and killing of Dustin Friedland outside The Mall at Short Hills. They pleaded not guilty through their public defenders Wednesday.
Authorities say Friedland, a 30-year-old lawyer from Hoboken, was killed while returning to his car in the mall parking garage with his wife after a shopping trip. The carjackers confronted the couple and Friedland was shot in the head, authorities said. His wife was unharmed.
The assailants drove off in the couple's silver Range Rover, which was found the next morning in Newark, about 10 miles from Short Hills. Prosecutors have said the couple was targeted solely because of the make of their vehicle.
The four have been in custody since their arrests on $2 million bail, and a judge said Wednesday that the bail amount would continue.
Acting Essex County Prosecutor Carolyn Murray said the "sheer senselessness" of the crime outraged residents and led to tips pouring in from across Essex County.