Irvington man sentenced to 18 years for double shooting

An Irvington man who killed one man and seriously injured another during a 2008 shooting in Elizabeth has been sentenced to 18 years in prison for the crime, acting Union County Prosecutor Grace H. Park announced Monday.

In April, 35-year-old Antwan Horton had been 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.

The date was August 7, 2008 when police rushed to a home on Flora Street near Routes 1&9 in Elizabeth 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.

Judge Caulfield sentenced Horton to an extended term based upon his prior criminal record, including 14 years for the manslaughter charge, with 85 percent of that time to be served before the possibility of parole, plus four years for the assault.