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Posted by on Aug 6, 2007 in Media | 13 comments

Three Students Lined Up and Murdered Execution Style; A Fourth Student Shot, Survives: Why Isn’t This Top News? Update

CNN reports that two males, 28, and 15 years old are in custody regarding the lining up and execution style murders of three students. A fourth student shot in the head and knifed, Natasha Aeriel, 19, survives in hospital and has been able to speak to police and give information. She is under heavy police guard.

It’s reported that Jose Carranza, 28, of Newark, New Jersey, surrendered to police. He came with his lawyer to turn himself in near 11 pm Wednesday night.

“We put him in handcuffs and we walked the individual into the office. I personally helped the detective to sit him down and I left,” the mayor said. Citizens in Newark have criticized the mayor for diminishing Newark’s high homicide rate.

Ballistics evidence, information from the shooting’s lone survivor and a fingerprint lifted from a beer bottle at the scene led to the major break in a criminal case that has outraged a city numbed by street violence.

An arrest warrant had sought Carranza’s arrest for three counts of murder, a single count of attempted murder, four counts of robbery, conspiracy and weapons offenses.

“We believe that others were involved in this heinous crime. We are looking for them,” Dow said.

The 15-year-old was not identified because of his age, but Dow said she would seek to try him as an adult.

Newark has become accustomed to violence but the slayings on Saturday night touched a nerve.

The four friends, ages 18 to 20, were shot while listening to music at the schoolyard.

Three of them — Terrance Aeriel, 18, Dashon Harvey, 20; and Iofemi Hightower, 20 — were forced to kneel against a wall and were shot in the head, execution style.

My questions in the earlier story were to ask why it seemed this story was not being reported heavily… it took two days to rise to the top of the foam, and even as two suspects are in custody today, it appears there are no big satellite trucks from all networks and cable news parked on the police station lot, no five thousand mikes being thrust in anyone’s face who comes out of the mayor’s office or police station.

I still ask, what/ who decides how dense, how broad the coverage of kids lined up on their knees and executed.

The surviving witness is brave to give testimony about the alleged murderers, a huge story in itself that is also silenced … It may be that because some murderers are well known to silence witnesses by making very sure they are dead… the second time around…perhaps that is the reason for silence.

But, propriety is not necessarily usual amongst news gatherers. That the prosecutor in Newark is a woman, could also be an interesting story. So could the story of the people’s rage at the mayor be a place to begin fleshing out a story. My point being not to praise or to dun, but to ask, where is the story, the whole story… and why is it taking so long to tell it?


Here is the previous article asking why it took the big media two to four days to either mention or else put the story on their front page even for a few hours.

I’d add one more question, in the article above written by CNN, the phrase in bold, “Newark has become accustomed to violence but the slayings on Saturday night touched a nerve.” You know me, insert your own fiery cuss word here.

Meanwhile, today, four days after these murders, news readers and reporters are talking about Plastic bottles on CNN, and that’s there’s a heat wave and how to enjoy the shade, are the momentary stories on Fox and MSNBC


Slayings outrage Newark
While Newark has seen 60 homicides this year, the schoolyard killings stood out because the victims, by all accounts, were good kids. All four were enrolled at Delaware State University or were in the process of enrolling.

James Harvey, Dashon’s father, described his son Monday as “a good, good student, college student.”

“For him to be killed on the streets of Newark needlessly is very unacceptable,” he said at a news conference.

“They’re out here hurting innocent kids,” he added. “Innocent people are dying needlessly, unnecessarily and for what? For what? This to has to stop. “Today, three young lives were extinguished; kids set for college. A fourth young person was shot and is in critical condition. The three were lined up and shot execution style. I don’t understand why this story isn’t suddenly 24/7 news on CNN, Fox, MSNBC. It isn’t.

Tucker is currently joking about frogs and the French. Fox is reporting on 6 miners trapped underground in Utah (may they be kept safe, all). Wolf on CNN is about to talk about sex and scandal in politics.

Is it only if murders happen inside a school, that it is long runner news? Is it only if more than three are killed at a time? Is it only if the children are under a certain age? How much ‘mass’ does there have to be for slaughter of the young to be considered “mass murder,” mass-acre… that word that seems to hold news above the drowning line?

What are the factors that bring one story forward while another nearly identical, lags far behind. Everyone knows the Scott Peterson case, but few know about a case, at the same time, farther along the California coast of another pregnant wife who was murdered ‘by sea’ whose husband was also the prime suspect.

How does big media really choose which stories to colonize us with? Or does the story somehow colonize the editors?

The murders of the students occurred Saturday. The news was reported by AP today, Monday.

Four College Friends Shot in New Jersey
NEWARK, N.J. (Aug. 6) – Three friends were forced to kneel against a wall behind an elementary school and were shot to death at close range, and a fourth was found about 30 feet away with gunshot and knife wounds to her head, police said.

All were from Newark and planned to attend Delaware State University this fall.

Essex County Prosecutor Paula Dow said authorities didn’t have any suspects or a motive in the killings late Saturday. None of the victims had any criminal record, she said.

“They were good kids,” Dow said.

The four had been listening to music in a parking lot behind Mount Vernon School when they were gradually joined by a group of men, authorities said.

Newark Police Director Garry McCarthy said the four exchanged text messages saying they should leave, but were attacked before they could do so.

Police said the attackers shot one young woman, then forced her three companions down an alley, lined them up against a wall, made them kneel and shot each in the head.

Natasha Aerial, 19, was listed in fair condition at Newark’s University Hospital, authorities said. Police identified her companions as her brother, Terrance Aerial, 18, Iofemi Hightower, 20, and Dashon Harvey, 20.

The Aerials’ mother, Renee Tucker, said the last time she saw them was around 10:30 p.m. Saturday, when they told her they were going around the corner to get something to eat. “They said they were going to come right back to the house,” Tucker said.

Hightower was a motivated student who had recently enrolled at Delaware State, according to her great-uncle John McClain.

“She was one of the most beautiful ladies you’d ever want to meet,” McClain said. “Very smart, very intelligent. She wanted to be something in life.”

In the wake of the killings, Mayor Cory A. Booker’s administration was again hearing from residents angry about the city’s homicide rate.

“He doesn’t deserve another day, another second, while our children are at stake,” said Donna Jackson, president of Take Back Our Streets, a community-based organization. “Anyone who has children in the city is in panic mode.”

Booker’s office didn’t return a call for comment on Monday.

…. there have been 17 slayings in the eight weeks since June 12.

At Delaware State, officials said the school plans to hold a memorial service Aug. 28, after the student body returns for the fall semester.

“While the murder of the two students is a terribly loss in human terms, the facts that they were a part of the DSU family and were striving to earn a degree, create a bright future for themselves and become a solid contributors to society, makes this violent act especially tragic and senseless,” university President Allen Sessoms said.

Hightower and the Aeriels had been friends since elementary school and played in the marching band at West Side High School. Terrance Aeriel, known as T.J., took Hightower to the school prom in 2006, chauffeured by his sister.

At Delaware State they met Harvey, another musician, and struck up a friendship. Friends and family members said the four were not involved in drinking, drugs or gangs.

They liked to congregate at the school, which sits in a middle-class neighborhood less than a mile from the campus of Seton Hall University, to hang out and listen to music.

Harvey’s father, James, said Monday the parents of the assailants were to blame.

“If you raised your kids better, this would not happen,” he said.

Hightower who worked two jobs and recently enrolled at the school. One of her jobs was at Brighton Gardens, an assisted living center in nearby West Orange, where her mother also worked.

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