A suspect in the execution-style killings of three college students in a New Jersey schoolyard in 2007 pleaded guilty Tuesday, days before his trial was set to begin.
Melvin Jovel, 21, pleaded guilty to three counts of murder, one count of attempted murder and weapons charges in the Newark attacks.
Prosecutors said Jovel and five other young men lined up Iofemi Hightower and Dashon Harvey, both 20, and 18-year-old Terrance Aeriel, against a schoolyard wall and shot each of them in the back of the head.
A fourth victim, who survived, testified at the first trial in the case that she was sexually assaulted, slashed with a machete and shot in the head. She is not being identified by The Associated Press because of the sexual assault charge.
"With this guilty plea today, the victim and the surviving family members are spared one trial and Mr. Jovel will spend the rest of his life behind bars," said Essex County Assistant Prosecutor Thomas McTigue. "We can now move on with the prosecution of the remaining cases."