Four plead guilty in connection with Elizabeth robbery-turned-murder

All four men charged in connection with an attempted robbery that resulted in the death of a Brooklyn man in Elizabeth nearly three years ago have admitted to their roles in the crime, acting Union County Prosecutor Grace H. Park announced Tuesday.

Ali Garner, 31 and Keon Lewis, 32, both of Elizabeth, pleaded guilty Monday to charges of first-degree aggravated manslaughter in connection with the shooting death of 41-year-old Mamuka Chamiashvili. Co-defendants Larry Jones, 35, of Elizabeth and 38-year-old Travis Picou of Paterson had previously pleaded guilty to charges of first-degree robbery.

At approximately 10:15 p.m. on Tuesday, September 16, 2014, Elizabeth Police Department patrol units were called to the area of Jacques and East Jersey streets in Elizabeth and found Chamiashvili, who had been fatally shot. He was pronounced dead at the scene.

An intensive joint investigation by the Union County Homicide Task Force, the Elizabeth Police Department, and the Union County Police Department Ballistics Unit 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 Albert Cernadas Jr., who prosecuted the case. Upon the conclusion of a test drive of the vehicle, a physical altercation ensued and gunshots rang out, Cernadas 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. Picou and Jones were arrested and charged in January 2015 and December 2015, respectively.

Sentencing of Garner and Lewis has been scheduled for Friday, September 8, 2017, at which time the State will recommend terms of 27 years in state prison apiece, with at least 85 percent of those terms to be served before the possibility of parole.