5th person convicted in NJ schoolyard killings

February 14, 2012 - 11:35 PM

NEWARK, N.J. (AP) — A fifth person charged in the execution-style killings of three friends in a New Jersey schoolyard has been convicted.

An Essex County jury on Tuesday found Jose Carranza guilty of felony murder and robbery charges. It acquitted him of charges he sexually assaulted a woman who survived the August 2007 attack in a playground behind Newark's Mount Vernon School.

Carranza is an illegal immigrant from Peru. He was free on bail in an unrelated case when the killings occurred. He declined to testify in his own defense.

The three friends who were killed died from gunshot wounds to their heads. All the victims were either attending or planning to attend Delaware State University that fall.

Two co-defendants have been convicted. Two others pleaded guilty. A sixth defendant is awaiting trial.