Hillside man sentenced to 43 years for double shooting

A Hillside man has been sentenced to 43 years in state prison for a shooting that killed one person and injured another in Elizabeth in 2012, acting Union County Prosecutor Grace H. Park announced Friday.

Jonathan James, 23, must serve at least 85 percent of that sentence before becoming eligible for parole under New Jersey’s No Early Release Act, according to the terms set down Friday by state Superior Court Judge Scott J. Moynihan.

On March 23, 2012, James approached a group of people on the 600 block of Carteret Street in Elizabeth and opened fire with a handgun, according to Union County Assistant Prosecutors Jillian Reyes and Armando Suarez, who prosecuted the case. Orlando Hernandez, a 39-year-old Elizabeth resident, was struck by gunfire in the head, while a second victim was struck in the back and the arm, Reyes and Suarez said.

Two Elizabeth Police Department officers on patrol in the area heard the gunshots, and with the assistance of other responding officers, pursued and apprehended James immediately following the shooting. Hernandez was transported to a local hospital, where he died three days later as a result of his injuries.

The shooting was jointly investigated by the Union County Homicide Task Force, the Elizabeth Police Department, and the Union County Sheriff’s Office Identification Unit. 

Following a three-week trial that took place in March 2016, James was found guilty of first-degree murder, first-degree attempted murder, and related weapons offenses.