Defendant convicted for fatal shooting of Plainfield woman

A Union County jury has returned guilty verdicts against the lone defendant of three to stand trial in connection with the fatal shooting of a Plainfield woman nearly three years ago, acting Union County Prosecutor Jennifer Davenport announced Wednesday.

Anthony Baines, 24, was convicted on charges of murder, conspiracy to commit murder, and two related weapons offenses following a trial before state Superior Court Judge John M. Deitch and jury deliberations spread over two days.

Plainfield Police Division patrol units responding to a report of a body in the rear yard of a home on the 400 block of Spruce Street in Plainfield late on Wednesday, June 29, 2016 found 24-year-old Neelega Perry there, according to Union County Assistant Prosecutor Michael Cleaver, who prosecuted the case. Perry was pronounced dead at the scene, Cleaver said, and the revolver used to kill her was found discarded next to her body.

A subsequent investigation led by UCPO Sgt. Michael Manochio and Detective Christopher Scuorzo, involving the Union County Homicide Task Force, Plainfield Police Division, Union County Sheriff’s Office Identification Unit, and Union County Police Department Ballistics Unit, resulted in the identification of three suspects: Baines, 22-year-old Raequon Segers, and 21-year-old Gquan Johnson.

Johnson was arrested in late September 2016, with Baines being apprehended in early October 2016 and Segers taken into custody approximately a week later. The trio were indicted in February 2017, and Segers and Johnson both pleaded guilty to charges of conspiracy to commit aggravated assault in early May 2019, with Johnson also admitting to a weapons charge. Both of those defendants then testified against Baines during his trial.

At trial it was also revealed that not only did Baines get two female acquaintances to create a false alibi for him, threatening one with harm if she didn’t stand by it, but he also claimed that a person who was proven to be in Pennsylvania at the time of Perry’s death committed the murder.

Members of Perry’s family, including both parents, were present for the verdict Tuesday. Sentencing in the case has been tentatively scheduled for Friday, July 26, 2019, at which time Baines will face a sentence of 30 years to life in state prison.