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Murder Case Cracked: Trio Charged With Lodi Parking Lot Slaying

Giovanni Feliciano Jefersson M. Gonzalez
Giovanni Feliciano Jefersson M. Gonzalez Photo Credit: MUGSHOTS

Investigators from Bergen and Passaic counties cracked the March slaying of a 26-year-old Paterson man who was gunned down in the parking lot of a Lodi garden apartment complex.

Charged with murder, conspiracy and weapons offenses in the drug-related killing are Giovanni Feliciano, 22, of Garfield, and Jefersson Gonzalez, 21, of Paterson. 

Charged with drug and weapons charges is Elvis DeJesus, 24, of Paterson.

The victim, John Anthony DeLeon, was struck in a hail of gunfire at the Kennedy Gardens Apartments on Victor Street off Route 46 on March 8, said Bergen County Prosecutor Mark Musella, who announced the arrests Wednesday afternoon.

An estimated 20 or so rounds were fired, leaving a Mercedes wagon riddled with bullet holes, investigators said.

DeLeon staggered to a 2nd-floor apartment and collapsed in front of his girlfriend, a witness told Daily Voice.

A Lodi Volunteer Ambulance Rescue Squad rig took DeLeon to Hackensack University Medical Center, where he was pronounced dead a short time later.

Detectives from Musella's Major Crimes Unit investigated the killing, assisted by police from Lodi and Paterson, the Passaic County Prosecutor’s Office and the Bergen County Sheriff's Bureau of Criminal Identification, which collected evidence, Musella said.

They caught Feliciano, Gonzalez and DeJesus with guns and drugs during a series of raids at multiple residences, for which all three were charged, the prosecutor said Wednesday.

Feliciano also was charged with possessing a firearm as a convicted felon, having an illegal large-capacity magazine, money laundering and having a host of drugs for sale -- namely: Xanax, heroin, cocaine, Oxy and marijuana, he said.

Gonzalez was charged with similar drug and weapons offenses, Musella said. 

He and Feliciano remained held Wednesday in the Bergen County Jail. 

DeJesus, meanwhile, remained held in the Passaic County Jail. He's charged with illegal possession of weapons, ammunition and drugs for sale.

Musella thanked the partner agencies for their work on the case.

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