JERSEY CITY, N.J. – A teenager has been charged with killing five people — including a couple on the day of their engagement party — during a two-month crime spree a veteran prosecutor called one of the most extraordinary displays of wanton, gratuitous violence he's ever seen.
Shiquan Bellamy, 19, on Tuesday pleaded not guilty to all five slayings. He appeared in a New Jersey courtroom while wearing dark-green prison scrubs and cuffed at the waist and wrists, answering "yes, sir" in a barely audible whisper to a judge's questions.
Prosecutors had charged Bellamy in the April 4 shooting deaths of Michael Muchiaki, 27, and his fiancee, Nia Haqq, 25, who were returning to their Jersey City home from their engagement party Easter Sunday when they were killed during what police say was a botched carjacking.
More on the Case: Teen Accused of Killing 5 People in 2 Months
Bellamy, also of Jersey City, is charged in that case with felony murder, armed robbery and weapons offenses along with his cousin Latonia Bellamy, 19, and Darmelia Lawrence, also 19. The two women have pleaded not guilty to the charges, which carry a possible life sentence upon conviction.
Hudson County prosecutor Edward DeFazio said "great detective work" by his office's homicide squad and Jersey City detectives then tied Shiquan Bellamy to three prior murders, and additional charges were brought against him.
"What disturbs me the most is how a 19-year-old can be involved in this depraved, gratuitous killing," DeFazio said.