ELIZABETH, NJ – James Gilford, 22,  of  Elizabeth, is one of two men to have pleaded guilty in the past week to a Linden homicide that took place a little less than two years ago, acting Union County Prosecutor Grace H. Park announced May 31.

Gilford and Aziz Howard, 37, of Carteret each pleaded guilty to a charge of aggravated manslaughter in connection with the death of 37-year-old James Garner. Linden Police were called to the 300 block of East Price Street at approximately 11:20 p.m., June 25, 2015, in response to a shots-fired call. There, patrol units found  Garner suffering from gunshot wounds in a second-floor apartment unit. Garner was transported to a local hospital, where he was later pronounced dead.

An investigation resulted in Gilford and Howard being identified as suspects in what was determined to have been a robbery gone wrong, and they were both arrested in July 2015, lodged in Union County Jail on $2 million bail apiece.

Sentencing for Howard and Gilford has been scheduled for June 30 and July 28, 2017, respectively, with both appearances to take place before state Superior Court Judge John Deitch. The State will recommend sentences of 20 and 24 years, respectively, for the two defendants, with 85 percent of both terms to be served before the possibility of parole.