Law & Justice

Guilty Verdict in Felony Murder Trial

Rakeem Johnson Credits: Essex County's Prosecutor's Office

Man Found Guilty of Felony Murder 

– Acting Essex County Prosecutor Robert D. Laurino announced today that an Essex County jury has convicted Rakeem Johnson, 37, of Newark of first degree armed robbery, felony murder, unlawful possession of a weapon and possession of a weapon for an unlawful purpose.

Following a trial before the Honorable Richard T. Sules, Judge of the Superior Court, the jury returned a guilty verdict today after four days of deliberating. 

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According to Deputy Chief Assistant Prosecutor Roger Imhof, who tried the case, on Dec. 22, 2015 at approximately 9:50 p.m. members of the Newark Police Department responded to the area of 93 Roseville Avenue on a call of a shooting in progress. 

When the officers arrived on the scene they discovered the victim, Abner Dominguez, 36, of Jersey City lying on the ground next to the open driver’s side door of his motor vehicle, which was running at the time. He was suffering from an apparent gunshot wound. Dominguez was rushed to University Hospital, where he later died. 

At trial the state’s theory was that Dominguez was a robbery victim. Witnesses identified Johnson running from the scene with a gun after hearing shots.In addition, a palm print was found on the outside passenger side of the vehicle where the defendant entered.  

Surveillance video captured Johnson touching the vehicle as he entered it.


At the time of the homicide, Johnson was on parole for aggravated manslaughter. He had just finishes serving a 17-year sentence in New Jersey State Prison for a Sept. 2, 1998 homicide.

Johnson had been out of prison for just over two years when he killed Dominguez.


Sentencing is scheduled for Aug. 3 before Judge Sules. Johnson faces 30 years to life.


“With this verdict today, we hope Mr. Dominguez’s family will find some measure of comfort in the long and painful healing process,’’ said Deputy Chief Assistant Prosecutor Imhof. 

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