A Union County jury has returned guilty verdicts against an Irvington man charged with killing one man and seriously injuring another during a 2008 shooting in Elizabeth, acting Union County Prosecutor Grace H. Park announced Friday.
Antwan Horton, 35, was convicted on charges of second-degree reckless manslaughter and third-degree aggravated assault after more than two weeks of jury deliberation following a two-month trial before state Superior Court Judge Regina Caulfield.
Police rushed to a home on the 1000 block of Flora Street near Routes 1&9 in Elizabeth on August 7, 2008 to find 33-year-old Christopher Cunningham and then-28-year-old David Rivera both suffering from multiple gunshot wounds, according to Union County Assistant Prosecutors Robert Vanderstreet and Christopher DeSimone, who prosecuted the case. Shortly thereafter Cunningham was pronounced dead, while Rivera received emergency treatment at a local hospital and was released.
An intensive joint investigation involving the Union County Homicide Task Force, the Elizabeth Police Department, and the Union County Sheriff’s Office resulted in Horton being identified as a suspect in the case, and he was arrested and charged in August 2010.
Vanderstreet and DeSimone explained at trial that Horton was in Elizabeth that day over an incident in which his girlfriend and young child were robbed of jewelry at gunpoint in the area hours earlier. He confronted the two shooting victims on Cunningham’s porch, demanding information about what happened, and following an exchange of words, Horton and an as-yet unidentified second suspect brandished handguns and fired a total of nearly a dozen shots.
There was never any indication that either shooting victim had been involved in the robbery.
Sentencing in the case has been scheduled for June 10, 2016, at which time Horton will be eligible to be sentenced to an extended term of 10 to 20 years in state prison on the manslaughter charge due to his four convictions on indictable offenses occurring prior to the shooting. The assault charge is punishable by a term of 3 to 5 years in prison.