Linden man sentenced to 24 years for killing neighbor

A Linden man has been sentenced to 24 years in state prison for fatally shooting his neighbor late last year, acting Union County Prosecutor Michael A. Monahan announced Friday.

Shansey Abernathy, 24, was sentenced Friday by state Superior Court Judge Candido Rodriguez, Jr. for being responsible for the death of 27-year-old Alphonso Pearson. 

Shortly after 12:45 p.m. on Wednesday, December 20, 2017, members of the Linden Police Department responded to the 800 block of Cleveland Avenue on a report of a shooting and found Pearson outside of his home, suffering from a gunshot wound to the chest, according to Union County Assistant Prosecutor Jeremiah Lenihan, who prosecuted the case. Pearson was rushed to Trinitas Regional Medical Center in Elizabeth, where he was pronounced dead, Lenihan said.

An ensuing investigation led by Prosecutor’s Office Detective Lamar Hartsfield and involving the Union County Homicide Task Force, Union County Sheriff’s Office Crime Scene Unit, Union County Police Department Ballistics Unit, and Linden Police Department quickly resulted in Abernathy being identified as a suspect in the case, and he turned himself in to authorities the day after the shooting.  

Abernathy pleaded guilty to a count of first-degree aggravated manslaughter last month.

Pearson’s mother and grandmother each spoke prior to sentencing Friday. Rodriguez ruled that Abernathy must serve at least 85 percent of his term before the possibility of parole under New Jersey’s No Early Release Act.