A man accused of shooting and killing a Villanova student in Montclair NJ last summer turned down a plea offer and will go to trial.
Appearing in Essex County Superior Court, 22-year-old Ernest Williams Jr. rejected a deal that would have called for him to serve 25 years in prison in return for pleading guilty to the July 2012 murder of 21-year-old Brian Schiavetti. Under the terms of the plea deal, Mr. Williams would not have been eligible for parole for at least 21 years and three (3) months.
Mr. Schiavetti was shot multiple times in what has been classified by Essex County prosecutors as a targeted drug-related killing.
Mr. Schiavetti’s body was found in the first-floor hallway of an apartment building on Williams Street in Montclair, New Jersey. Mr. Schiavetti was in New Jersey for the summer, working as an intern for Thomson Reuters in Manhattan. He was a Villanova business school student from Ridgefield, Connecticut.
Mr. Williams is expected to be tried along with his alleged accomplice, James Pitts. Mr. Pitts is a former football star for the Villanova football team and the son of Essex County Undersheriff James Pitts. Mr. Pitts has been charged with conspiracy to commit robbery and conspiracy to violate narcotics laws.
Homicide is the most serious criminal offense in New Jersey. N.J.S.A. 2C:11-3 classifies criminal homicide as a first degree felony. If Mr. Williams is convicted of first degree felony murder, he could be sentenced to life in New Jersey State Prison.
Mr. Pitts is currently free on $100,000.00 bail, while Mr. Williams is being held at the Essex County Correctional Facility in lieu of $75,000.00 bail.
For more information about this case, read the NJ.com article entitled “Alleged Shooter in Villanova Student Slaying in Montclair Turns Down Plea Deal.”