Finally, the first steps toward justice in the February 2009 murder of Verona gas station attendant Daniel Pritchard. Yesterday, a co-defendant in the case pleaded guilty to the armed robberies that happened around the time of the murder, but said it was the other defendant who fatally shot Pritchard at the Sunoco gas station on Pompton Avenue.
David Fate and his cousin, Raymond Perry, were apprehended fairly quickly after the shooting. Both entered not guilty pleas to the murder charges brought by the Essex County Prosecutor in their initial arraignments in February 2010, but authorities had had a tough time turning the case because there were no eyewitnesses to the murder.
But Fate told Superior Court Judge Peter Vazquez yesterday that it was Perry who fired the two shots that killed Pritchard and described what took place that day. In exchange for Fate’s plea, the prosecutor’s office dropped the murder charge against him. Fate will be sentenced on June 24, to what will likely be sentenced 28 years in prison. Perry’s trial will begin in April.