One of the two men responsible for the 2010 robbery and murder of a Plainfield taxi driver has been sentenced to 45 years in state prison for the crime, acting Union County Prosecutor Grace H. Park announced Friday.
Jonathan Morgan, 28, must serve at least 85 percent of that term – a total of more than 38 years – before the possibility of parole due to the provisions of New Jersey’s No Early Release Act, according to the terms set down by state Superior Court Judge Scott J. Moynihan. Last month a Union County jury deliberated for two days following a three-week trial before finding Morgan guilty of robbery and felony murder in connection with the death of 44-year-old Isidro Leonardo.
The date was September 28, 2010 when Plainfield Police Division units rushed to the 200 block of Spooner Avenue in Plainfield to find Leonardo in his taxi suffering from a gunshot wound to the head. He was taken to a local hospital, where he was pronounced dead.
An intensive joint investigation by the Union County Homicide Task Force and the Plainfield Police Division resulted in Morgan, a.k.a. “J-Rummy,” and 23-year-old Wallace Parrish, a.k.a. “Wawa,” both confirmed members of Plainfield’s Sex Money Murder set of the Bloods street gang, being identified as suspects, according to Union County Assistant Prosecutor Caroline Lawlor, who prosecuted the case. Parrish was arrested in October 2010 and convicted following a five-week trial that ended in April 2013, while Morgan turned himself in to police in June 2011.
The investigation, which was spearheaded by Union County Prosecutor’s Office Lt. Jorge Jimenez and Sgt. Kevin Grimmer, determined that Morgan called several Plainfield cab companies on the morning of Leonardo’s death with the intent of robbing a driver. Leonardo, an employee of Plainfield’s United Taxi and the father of two young sons, was the driver dispatched to pick up Parrish and Morgan before a robbery attempt turned violent, after which both fled the area.
Parrish’s sentencing in the case remains pending.