Defendant sentenced to 58 years for planned killing of Plainfield woman

A Plainfield man has been sentenced to 58 years in state prison for playing the lead role among a group of three people who meticulously planned and carried out the execution-style fatal shooting of a Plainfield woman a little more than three years ago, acting Union County Prosecutor Lyndsay V. Ruotolo announced Tuesday.

Anthony Baines, 24, must serve at least 85 percent of that sentence before the possibility of parole under the terms set down Friday by Union County Superior Court Judge John M. Deitch.

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 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. Having sustained a gunshot wound to the back of the head, 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 Sgt. Michael Manochio and Detective Christopher Scuorzo of the Union County Homicide Task Force, assisted by the 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 did not stand by it, but he further claimed that a person who was proven to be in Pennsylvania at the time of Perry’s death committed the murder.

Following the trial, a jury deliberated for several hours over two days before convicting Baines on all counts, including murder, conspiracy to commit murder, and two related weapons offenses.

Perry’s mother and grandmother both read brief statements into the record prior to the sentencing hearing. Deitch noted that the three defendants devised a method to lure the victim out of her home in order to kill her, and also commented that Baines, who declined an opportunity to speak during the sentencing hearing, had not shown any remorse during the entirety of his legal proceedings.