Third suspect charged in connection with Elizabeth robbery-turned-murder

A third suspect has been identified, arrested, and charged in connection with an attempted robbery that resulted in the death of a Brooklyn man in Elizabeth last fall, acting Union County Prosecutor Grace H. Park announced Monday.

Travis M. Picou, 36, of Paterson turned himself in to members of the Union County Homicide Task Force on Friday. Charged with the death of 41-year-old Mamuka Chamiashvili, Picou’s bail was set at $2 million by state Superior Court Judge William A. Daniel.

The arrest occurred less than a week after a Union County grand jury returned indictments against the two other men charged in the case. Ali Garner, 28, and Keon Lewis, 30, both of Elizabeth, were indicted last week; both men and Picou are charged with first-degree felony murder, first-degree robbery, and lesser related charges.

It was approximately 10:15 p.m. on Tuesday, September 16, 2014 when police were called to the area of Jacques and East Jersey streets in Elizabeth to find Chamiashvili, who had been fatally shot and was pronounced dead at the scene.

An intensive joint investigation by the Union County Homicide Task Force and the Elizabeth Police Department revealed that the victim was in the area responding to an online posting on the website craigslist advertising a Mercedes-Benz SUV for sale in the city, according to Union County Assistant Prosecutor Bruce Holmes, who is prosecuting the case. Upon the conclusion of a test drive of the vehicle, a physical altercation ensued and gunshots rang out, Holmes said.

Lewis was charged in October 2014 following a weeklong effort by the Prosecutor’s Office, the Elizabeth Police Department, and the Union County Sheriff’s Office to locate and arrest him. Garner was arrested by members of the Union County Homicide Task Force the week before. Bail for Lewis and Garner was set at $2 million apiece by state Superior Court Judge Regina Caulfield and state Superior Court Judge Joseph P. Donohue, respectively.

Convictions on felony murder charges can carry sentences of 30 years to life in state prison.

These criminal charges are mere accusations. Each defendant is presumed innocent until proven guilty in a court of law.