FORT LEE, N.J. -- Attorneys for four defendants charged in the strangulation murder and robbery of an aspiring rapper from Fort Lee found stuffed into the trunk of his BMW in the Bronx early this year entered not guilty pleas for them Monday in Hackensack.
Meanwhile, an assistant prosecutor said she was making arrangements to bring a fifth defendant to New Jersey from Massachusetts, where he was imprisoned.
All are charged in the slaying of Jordan Johnson between Jan. 13 and 14, 2015 in his Fort Lee high-rise apartment.
In court Monday were Robert R. Martinez, 27, of Wooster, Mass., and Diana Escotto, Courtney Evelyn, 31 and her brother, 25-year-old Dyrol Evelyn, all of the Bronx.
Martinez's attorney, Gayle Hargrove, accused the fifth defendant, Andre "Boogie" Thompson of strangling Johnson.
Thompson, 26, remained in Massachusetts for violating parole by removing a monitoring bracelet.
He and Martinez are charged with three first-degree counts of causing Johnson’s death: murder, felony murder during the course of a theft and causing Johnson’s death while fleeing prosecution.
They are also charged with breaking into the 15th Street apartment that Johnson shared with his girlfriend, Meagan Faulkner.
All but Thompson are charged with lying to police.
Escotto and both Evelyns are charged with providing aid to the other two by giving them a weapon, money, transportation, or disguise to help them escape.
Authorities said Martinez and Thompson lured Johnson to the apartment, where he was killed and his keys and cellphone taken on Jan. 14.
Johnson’s phone was used to send text messages to lure Faulkner, from the 12th-floor Carriage House residence to a supposed meeting in Harlem, Bergen County Prosecutor John L. Molinelli sad at the time.
Faulkner called police after she returned to find the apartment ransacked and jewelry, cash and other valuables missing. Fort Lee police then issued an alert for Johnson and his car.
Johnson’s black 2013 BMW 550 Gran Turismo was found at 1:35 p.m. the next day in the Bronx, with his body in the trunk, after a police license plate reader registered a hit on the missing vehicle.
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