East Orange Man Convicted of Attempted Murder, Weapons Offenses After Shooting Paralyzes Former Drug Dealer

An East Orange man was recently convicted of attempted murder and weapons-related offenses, as a jury found him guilty of a shooting which ultimately paralyzed the victim, a former drug dealer.

According to the Essex County Prosecutor’s Office, 25-year-old Karon Townes shot 35-year-old East Orange resident Alkabir Owens on North Burnett Street in East Orange, New Jersey on October 9, 2011. Owens was shot from behind in the head as well as the back, injuries which left him paralyzed below the chest.

Owens, whose criminal record includes a prior conviction for drug distribution, testified on behalf of the prosecution during Townes’ trial. Per his testimony, the shooting followed an argument between the two men which occurred when Owens rejected Townes’ request for his assistance to begin dealing drugs. Owens admitted to punching Townes in the face during the disagreement, stating that Townes returned the next day with a faked apology, before shooting him.

Assistant Prosecutor Amber Loughran, one of the prosecutors who served on behalf of the state in this case, said that Owens had recognized the error of his ways following his previous drug conviction and was attempting to persuade Townes not to follow in his footsteps. Townes had no criminal record before this incident; however, he is facing drug-related charges in pending cases.

After a two-week trial in Essex County Superior Court, Townes was found guilty of the attempted murder and weapons charges on Wednesday, March 18th. As a result, he could be sentenced to a significant term of incarceration during his sentencing hearing on May 2nd.

According to N.J.S.A. 2C:5-1, which governs attempt in criminal cases:

An attempt to commit a crime of the first degree is a crime of the second degree; except that an attempt to commit Murder or Terrorism is a crime of the first degree.

As such, Townes’ conviction for attempted murder could subject him to a term of incarceration ranging from 10 to 20 years in New Jersey State Prison.

For more information pertaining to this case, access the following article: East Orange man guilty of attempted murder for shooting that left city man paralyzed