Newark Trio Facing Murder Charges In Hillside Shooting

Three Newark men including two already jailed on previous charges were charged in a Hillside shooting that left one man dead last March, authorities said Friday.

Ismael Merrill, Ameer J. Holcomb and , Maleak S. Williams
Ismael Merrill, Ameer J. Holcomb and , Maleak S. Williams Photo Credit: Union County Prosecutor's Office

Ameer J. Holcomb, 22, Maleak S. Williams, 22, and Ismael Merrill, 28, were each charged with first-degree murder and two related weapons offenses,  acting Union County Prosecutor Lyndsay V. Ruotolo said.

Hillside police officers responded to reports of a shooting on the 1400 block of Center Street around 9 p.m. March 29, Ruotolo said.

There, they found Rafee H. Carter, 27, who had suffered multiple gunshot wounds, Union County Assistant Prosecutors Bruce Holmes and Julie Peterman said. Carter was transported to Newark’s University Hospital, where he was pronounced dead.

An investigation found Holcomb, Williams and Merrill followed Carter to the scene in a BMW stolen out of Wall Township the day before the shooting, authorities said. The same car was found three days later in Newark, Ruotolo said.

Holcomb was arrested without incident at his home in Newark on Wednesday and lodged in the Union County Jail, while Williams and Merrill were served the charges while incarcerated for unrelated crimes in Essex County and Morris County, respectively. 

Records show Williams was involved in armed gas station robberies while Merrill in 2018 was charged in luxury car thefts.

All three defendants are facing first appearances and detention hearings scheduled to take place in Union County Superior Court.

Anyone with information about this shooting is still being urged to contact Homicide Task Force Detective Sonia Rodriguez at 908-341-3380 or Sgt. Johnny Ho at 908-403-8271.

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