FRANKLIN TOWNSHIP, N.J. – A fifth suspect in the New Year's Eve murder of a 19-year-old township resident has been arrested following a traffic stop in East Brunswick.
Luther Waters, III, 21, of Denise Court was arrested by detectives from the Somerset County Prosecutor’s Office Major Crimes Unit and the Franklin Township Police Department in the area of Francis Road, East Brunswick.
Waters was taken into custody without incident after he was seen by detectives traveling in a motor vehicle. The suspect was charged with first degree Murder and lodged in the Somerset County Jail pending a bail detention hearing.
He is charged along with four other suspects in the homicide of Samaad Frazier of Jill Court, Somerset, New Jersey, according to Somerset County Prosecutor Michael H. Robertson.
Robertson provided the following account:
On Tuesday, Dec. 31, Franklin Township Police responded to a 9-1-1 call at 3:36 p.m. reporting multiple shots fired in the area of Churchill Avenue where they found Frazier near the rear of a residence inside of a motor vehicle on Churchill Avenue.
Police rendered life-saving medical aid along with responding emergency medical personnel. The victim was transported to an area trauma center where he was pronounced dead. A post-mortem examination by the New Jersey Northern Regional Medical Examiner’s Office ruled the death a homicide.
Other Franklin Township Patrol Officers responding to the shooting had been radioed the description of a suspect vehicle, which they saw driving at a high rate of speed on Hamilton Street and Berry Street; they attempted to stop the vehicle unsuccessfully. The chase continued until the suspect vehicle crashed at the intersection of Easton Avenue and Oakland Avenue.
The five occupants inside the suspect vehicle fled on foot in different directions with Franklin police officers running after them. The first suspect captured was Gavin M. Owens-Jones, 18, Barker Road, Franklin Township, who was armed with a semi-automatic handgun. He dropped the weapon when he was ordered to do so and was taken into custody.
Two additional suspects were taken into custody by Franklin police officers following a foot chase. They were identified as Jeffrey J. Grant Jr., 19, of Culver Street, Somerset, and a 16-year-old Somerset male juvenile identified as I.S.
A fourth shooting suspect, a 16-year-old Somerset male juvenile identified as T.H. was taken into custody without incident on Jan. 2.
Owens-Jones is charged with first degree murder, second degree possession of a weapon for an unlawful purpose, and fourth degree eluding by flight. Grant is charged with first degree murder, and fourth degree eluding by flight. Both suspects remain lodged at the Somerset County Jail.
Juvenile I.S. is charged with fourth degree eluding and was released to a family member pending a family court appearance. Juvenile T.H. is charged with first degree murder and remains lodged at the Middlesex County Youth Detention Center.
Robertson requests anyone with information relating to this homicide to contact the Somerset County Prosecutors Office Major Crimes Unit at (908) 231-7100 or the Franklin Township Police Department at (732) 873-5533 or via the STOPit app.
The STOPit app allows citizens to provide anonymous reports including videos and photos. STOPit can be downloaded to your smart phone for free at the Google Play Store or Apple App Store, access code: SOMERSETNJ. Information can also be provided through the Somerset County Crime Stoppers’ Tip Line at 1-888-577-TIPS (8477). All anonymous STOPit reports and Crime Stopper tips will be kept confidential.