2 men get life in prison in murder case

NEWTON. Jamaal Mellish and Hannan Aiken were convicted of 11 counts, including murder and kidnapping, in the killing of Cpl. Hayden Harris in Byram Township in 2020.

| 07 Aug 2023 | 04:00

Two men convicted in the killing of Cpl. Hayden Harris in Byram Township in 2020 were sentenced to life in prison Friday, Aug. 4 in Superior Court in Sussex County.

Jamaal Mellish and Hannan Aiken were convicted of 11 counts by a Sussex County jury June 2. The counts included murder, conspiracy to commit murder, kidnapping, carjacking, unlawful possession of a weapon and hindering one’s apprehension.

The trial lasted about six weeks.

Prosecutors said Mellish and Aiken abducted Harris at gunpoint in Glen Park, N.Y., and took him to the area of Ross Road in Byram Township, where he was shot and killed. The alleged motivation for the killing was a dispute relating to a vehicle transaction.

Superior Court Judge Michael Gaus sentenced both men to life in prison. They will not be eligible for parole for 63¾ years.

“Although nothing can bring back the precious life of Cpl. Harris, we feel that justice was served in this matter based upon the sentence imposed,” said acting Sussex County Prosecutor Annmarie Taggart.

Contributing to the investigation were the Byram Township police; New Jersey State Police Crime Scene North; Jefferson County (N.Y.) Sheriff’s Office; U.S. Army Criminal Investigative Division in Fort Drum, N.Y.; New York Police Department, Department of Investigation; and Sussex County Prosecutor’s Office units of Major and High Tech Crimes.

Plea on gun charge

Richard Gannon, 32, of Wantage pleaded guilty to third-degree unlawful possession of a weapon July 24 before Judge Michael Gaus of the state Superior Court in Newton.

Sentencing is scheduled Sept. 15.

Gannon admitted possessing a shotgun without first obtaining a permit to carry.

The case was investigated by Trooper Erny of the New Jersey State Police.

6 months in jail

Richard Scrivani, 33, of Little Ferry was sentenced to six months in the Morris County Correctional Facility and five years of probation July 13.

His driver’s license will be suspended for six months after his release from jail.

Scrivani pleaded to third-degree eluding and third-degree burglary.

He admitted unlawfully entering a home in Newton on April 21, intending to commit an offense. He also admitted fleeing police while operating a motor vehicle on Newton-Sparta Road in Andover.