NEWARK, NJ - Clarence Williams, 42, of Newark, was convicted Wednesday morning by an Essex County jury on one count of carjacking a West Orange man on June 24, 2011. The announcement came from Acting Essex County Prosecutor Carolyn A. Murray. Superior Court Judge Michael L. Ravin presided over the two-week trial.
Assistant Essex County Prosecutor Jamel Semper tried the case, explaining that on June 24, 2011 the victim, then 21, was putting air into a tire on his Infiniti at an Exxon gas station in West Orange when Williams entered the vehicle. The two began to struggle and Williams put his foot on the gas pedal to take off with the Infiniti at a high rate of speed. The victim tried to pull Williams from the car but instead was dragged 45 yards into oncoming traffic. According to Semper "the victim’s leg became trapped underneath the vehicle as he was clinging onto the driver’s side of the Infiniti. The victim was able to avoid being struck by oncoming traffic by letting go of the Infiniti and rolling to the side of the road."
Five days later, the Infiniti was found and recovered in Newark about two miles from Williams' residence. West Orange Police processed the Infiniti and discovered evidence of Williams' DNA on a cigarette and soda bottle.
“We had a smart jury and a brave victim who was willing to come to court and face the man who did this to him. The combination of the two provided for a just verdict,’’ said Assistant Prosecutor Semper.
In addition to today's conviction, Williams has four prior felony convictions in New Jersey and one in North Carolina. Williams is awaiting a second trial for another carjacking in Newark in October 2011, where he is accused of shooting his 50-year-old Newark carjacking victim.
Judge Ravin revoked Williams’ $250,000 bail after the verdict.. Williams is currently incarcerated at the Essex County Correctional Facility in Newark. Sentencing is set for Nov. 8 and the state will ask for the maximum penalty of 30 years.