Newark, NJ -- Acting Essex County Prosecutor Robert D. Laurino announced today that Gregory Bentley, 24, was sentenced to 26 years in New Jersey State Prison yesterday by the Honorable Marysol Rosero, Judge of the Superior Court. He must serve 85 percent of his sentence before he is eligible for parole. 

On April 20, an Essex County jury convicted Bentley of attempted murder, robbery, aggravated assault, conspiracy and weapons charges. The case was tried by Assistant Prosecutor Austin Edwards. 

The crime occurred on Jan. 18, 2016.  Bentley, who has lived in Newark and Irvington, and three unindicted co-conspirators forced their way into the Top Dog variety store on Clinton Avenue in Newark. They tried to rob the store clerk and his friend at gunpoint and fired multiple shots at both victims. The defendant eventually forced his way into the back office where he shot the store clerk 15 times, several of those being inflicted as he stood over the victim who lay wounded and bleeding on the floor. 

Sign Up for E-News

The store clerk was hospitalized for three months, underwent numerous surgeries and survived, according to Assistant Prosecutor Edwards.

Bentley was identified because he got trapped inside the store. There was no rear exit. Surveillance video captured the shooting. After the victim regained consciousness, he identified Bentley as a store customer and the primary actor in the robbery and shooting. 

“Yesterday’s sentence reflects how heinous this robbery and attempted murder truly were. While nothing can make up for what happened to these victims, I hope this brings some closure as they continue to heal physically and emotionally from this horrific event,” said Assistant Prosecutor Edwards.