An investigation by the Mercer County Homicide Task Force and the Trenton Police has led to the arrest of a Ewing man for aggravated manslaughter, reported Mercer County Prosecutor Angelo J. Onofri.
Justin Wilkes, 21, was arrested and charged Tuesday evening with first-degree aggravated manslaughter and third-degree endangering an injured victim. The prosecutor’s office has filed a motion to detain him pending trial.
The victim in the crime, who is still unidentified, was allegedly beaten unconscious in the middle of a Trenton street by Wilkes, left there, and then run over by a motorist, said the prosecutor’s office.
The following information is based on a report release by the Mercer County Prosecutor’s Office.
On Saturday, May 29, at approximately 11:10 p.m., Trenton police officers were detailed to the area of South Clinton and Roebling avenues on a report of a pedestrian struck. While enroute, Trenton police dispatch advised that callers had heard two gunshots.
Upon arrival, officers located the victim, an unidentified Hispanic male, laying in the street. He was bleeding from the head and had visible tire marks across his torso. Trenton Emergency Services arrived on scene and attempted to provide aid, however, the victim was pronounced dead at the scene.
Based on information received, the Homicide Task Force was notified and responded. An initial canvas of the scene did not produce evidence of a shooting.
Detectives received witness information that the victim was seen walking in the roadway then observed falling to the ground as a white Honda Civic hit him and drove off in the direction of Beatty Street.
Investigators were able to locate the vehicle and identify the driver as Elber Yuman, 24, of Princeton Junction. On Sunday, May 30, Yuman was charged with knowingly leaving the scene of an accident that resulted in death.
A preliminary examination of the victim’s body by the medical examiner’s office suggested the victim had been run over and had significant injuries to the left side of his face, but there was no indication he had been shot.
Area video surveillance was reviewed and witnesses were interviewed as part of the ongoing investigation.
Detectives established that an individual, identified as Wilkes, ran up to the victim at approximately 11 p.m. and punched him in the head. Wilkes then allegedly continued to assault the victim as he tried to get away, stomping and kicking him after he fell to the ground in the middle of South Clinton Avenue.
Authorities said Wilkes fled the area by vehicle as the victim was still lying in the road, beaten unconscious. Shortly thereafter, the white Honda Civic driven by Yuman crossed over Roebling Avenue while traveling on South Clinton Avenue, running over the victim. Yuman continued driving toward Beatty Street without stopping.
The victim remains unidentified. Anyone with information is asked to call HTF Det. Marc Masseroni at (609) 989-6406. Information can also be emailed to firstname.lastname@example.org.