A local man who attempted to rob and then shot a customer at an Elizabeth liquor store last year has been sentenced to an extended term of 50 years in state prison for the crime, acting Union County Prosecutor Michael A. Monahan announced Thursday.
Gary Jones, 45, of Newark was sentenced Thursday by state Superior Court Judge Daniel R. Lindemann, who also ruled that under New Jersey’s No Early Release Act, Jones must serve at least 85 percent of the entire 50-year term (42.5 years) before becoming eligible for parole.
At approximately 9:30 p.m. on Friday, January 27, 2017, the robbery victim was exiting Gail’s Wine & Spirits on Broad Street near Elizabeth’s downtown train station when he was confronted by a man later identified as Jones, who brandished a handgun and demanded money, according to Union County Assistant Prosecutors Kathleen Dillon and Diana-Marie Laventure-Smith, who prosecuted the case.
The victim attempted to walk away, at which time Jones shot him in the leg, Dillon and Laventure-Smith said. Injured, the victim ran to flag down nearby Elizabeth Police Department officers ,who then engaged Jones in a brief foot pursuit.
Jones refused to drop his handgun despite orders from the responding officers, who were forced to wrestle it away from him before taking him into custody.
A Union County jury deliberated for 90 minutes following an August trial before convicting Jones on charges including first-degree robbery, two second-degree weapons offenses, third-degree assault with bodily injury using a deadly weapon, fourth-degree pointing a firearm, and fourth-degree obstruction of justice.
Jones had been eligible for an extended term due to his 11 prior convictions on crimes including burglary, aggravated assault, theft, eluding police, receiving stolen property, and resisting arrest, among others.
Both the victim and his wife made remarks about how the shooting had negatively impacted their lives during Thursday’s sentencing hearing.