NEWARK, NJ - After deliberating for a week, an Essex County jury found Lavelle T. Davis, 37, of Galloway, and Jimmy P. Mays, 34, formerly of Egg Harbor Township, guilty of the January, 2017, murders of Michael Davis, 45, of Maplewood, Roshana Kelson, 30, of Paterson, and Lance Fraser, 44, of Newark, according to a press release from Essex County Prosecutor Robet D. Laurino.
The three victims were found shot to death when firefighters went to an apartment on Van Ness Court in Maplewood to do a wellness check after family members reported they had been unable to reach the three, stated the press release.
According to Assistant Prosecutor Carlo Fioranelli, who tried the case with Assistant Prosecutor Sean Dickson, on Jan. 29, 2017, Mays, Lavelle Davis and an unknown co-conspirator went into 38 Van Ness Court in Maplewood, where one of the victims, Michael Davis, resided looking for drugs and cash. The three men, who knew Michael Davis, shot and killed him and Roshana Kelson in the upstairs bedroom. They then tortured Lance Fraser, before shooting and killing him. The three people ransacked the home and took items.
Late Friday night, May 11, the jury found both defendants guilty of conspiracy, murder, felony murder, burglary, robbery, criminal restraint, and weapons offenses, stated the press release.
"The Kelson, Davis, and Fraser families went through a nightmare because of what occurred at 38 Van Ness Court on January 29th, 2017. I hope the verdict gives them some sense of closure and that the families continue to heal following this tragedy," said Fioranelli
Both defendants, who have prior felony convictions, face life in prison when they are sentenced on June 26, stated the release.
Davis has two prior felony convictions: one for conspiracy to commit aggravated assault, and a second for aggravated assault on a law enforcement officer. Davis was convicted on April 30, 2010, and sentenced to six years in New Jersey State Prison. Under the No Early Release Act, he was required to serve 85 percent of his sentence before he was eligible for parole, stated the release.
Mays has four prior felony convictions. On April 16, 2010, he was convicted of bailing jumping, possession of a controlled dangerous substance, unlawful possession of a weapon and possession of a weapon for an unlawful purpose. He was sentenced to five years in New Jersey State Prison, stated the release.