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When states started releasing inmates last year to prevent the spread of COVID-19 in prisons, that decision was met with serious pushback. Yes, many supported it for some strange reason, but most people understood the risks that came with it.
Unfortunately, one of those risks has once again been realized.
On Wednesday, a New Jersey man who was released from state prison due to the pandemic was charged with killing two people at a birthday party back on Jan. 24 of this year. According to NJ.com, neither of the victims were even the intended targets. They were innocent bystanders slain at the hands of a man who should’ve never been back on the streets.
Burlington County Prosecutor @ScottCoffina and Edgewater Park Township Police Chief Robert D. Hess announced that a 27-year-old Delran man has been charged with fatally shooting two people at a party in Edgewater Park in January. https://t.co/JjJpEJUuk2 pic.twitter.com/CM3QHeEQPG
— Burlco Prosecutor (@BurlcoPros) May 19, 2021
It should be noted that the shooter, 27-year-old Ronny L. Paden, was supposed to be out within a year of his Nov. 2020 release date anyway because of a law that reduced prison sentences of inmates with less than one year remaining on their sentences. However, at least Paden wouldn’t have been out in January.
In other words, the two victims, Marcus Thompson and James Gist III, would still be alive today.
Paden has been charged with two counts of murder, conspiracy to commit murder, and three different weapon offenses. He was arrested earlier this month on May 7.
This is a really sad situation, especially considering it could have been avoided.