South Orange Men Charged in Maplewood Robbery

The men arrested are charged with beating and robbing a South Orange man in Maplewood.

Four South Orange men have been charged for the July 3 beating and robbing of another South Orange resident on Woodland Road in Maplewood.

Marcus Jones, 19, Armand Spears, 20, Patrice Golden, 19, and Lateef Ahre, 20, were arrested Friday, July 6, and charged with robbery and conspiracy to commit robbery.

A 21-year-old South Orange man was walking home from a party in Maplewood at around 1:30 a.m., July 3, when Jones, Spears, Golden and Ahre allegedly pulled up to him in a car. According to police, the four knocked the man unconscious and stole his backpack, wallet, headphones and cell phone.

The injured man called 9-1-1 after he woke up. He told police he knew his attackers and was able to identify them. He was then taken to the hospital by the South Orange Rescue Squad, where he stayed under observation for a few hours with minor head injuries. Detective Lt. Michael Marucci said they used the injured man’s information to make all four arrests.

The man’s wallet, headphones and backpack were recovered, but not his cell phone.             

Bail for Jones, Spears and Golden was set at $50,000. Bail for Ahre was set at $65,000. Each suspect has a criminal history, according to police. They have been arraigned and are awaiting trial. Jones and Ahre are still in county lockup. Golden and Spears have been released on bail. Spears was formerly a baseball star as a senior at Columbia High School in 2010.

Contrary to previous reports, the victim of the assault was from South Orange, not Maplewood.

Chichi August 01, 2012 at 04:35 AM
This article is written in a biased negative tone which leads me to say that you, for one, should be ashamed of the way you characterized these boys, who are, nevertheless, NOT criminals, but young adults.
Ignorance is bliss August 01, 2012 at 06:52 AM
If someone through a firer cracker at my car I would knock him out too. the robbery wasn't needed, but thats how it goes sometimes. Some people need to learn how to take a punch like a man sometimes.
Kimberly James August 01, 2012 at 12:00 PM
WantsTheTruth Ben Steele, Why would detectives speak to you about this case? This is an on going investigation. If they were talking with you, someone needs to be disciplined. Or, perhaps they spoke to you in confidence and now you’re spreading this on a public board? Which is it? I’m not a judge or the jury and would rather wait for the facts to come out on this case.
Pointing out the facts August 01, 2012 at 01:37 PM
Come on really???? Thats funny because I have seen pictures of the damage to the vehicle from the firecracker. Of course he did not have any in his posession, he had thrown it at the car AND lighting a firecracker and throwing it may not necessarily leave residue (there are so many different kinds out there). Also, I saw photos of the drivers face where he was punched and it wasn't from one of the other "thugs" as you refer to them. We will never know 100% truths about this story. I trust the police as much as you trust that these boys were innocent. I bet the police officers were white as well werent they! (I will admit your comment about the cookies was a bit funny, but I will not be baking)
Ben Steele August 02, 2012 at 02:22 AM
when you commit crimes, you are a criminal. Having a criminal records means you were found guilty of committing a crime, therefore they are criminals. It is a shame however that such young men have gone down such a bad path so early in their lives. Their parents must be humiliated by their behavior.
Ben Steele August 02, 2012 at 02:24 AM
with that attitude, you will be where these young men are going.... Prison
Ben Steele August 02, 2012 at 02:40 AM
This is not an ongoing investigation. The investigation is over. They have been charged and a trial is pending. This information is available to the public. No one will ever know all of the facts. This public forum is a way for us to discuss things that we would otherwise have no voice in. It shocked me that such an event happened in Maplewood. Imagine how the parents of the victim feel. Their son could have been killed! He was left unconscious on the ground! Luckily the victim recognized these guys from school. Now they will be off the street and the rest of us will be a bit safer. I imagine those of you who are defending the violent actions of these hooligans are family....understandable. But aren't you ashamed of their actions. They have destroyed their chance for a future. Hopefully the victim is not injured too badly, although I'm sure he will have psychological scars forever.
Ben Steele August 02, 2012 at 02:50 AM
To Pointing out the facts: Two of the officers are white and one is black. Nice try. One of the "white" officers might be latino, I'm not sure. The police departments are well aware that there are people like you who will try to play the race card. They are way ahead of you.
Kimberly James August 02, 2012 at 01:30 PM
“They claim a firecracker was thrown at them and the person ran. They drove around looking for someone to beat up. Thats why they are being charged with conspiracy. They found a vulnerable victim, surrounded him like a pack of dogs and hit him from behind and robbed him. The victim had no marks on his hands that would suggest he threw a punch. None of the criminals had any injuries. At least 3 of the men have criminal records and probable juvenile records as well. “ Your words—seems the jury is out according to you. According to some sources, it seems to be more to this incident than the accusations that you are presenting. Some involved in the incident KNEW each other from school. Sorry, something seems amiss here. And, the original story in Patch said all the accusers have a criminal past. If they did a fact check, that’s not true. Some of the above posts probably are family members and at least one post said the involved “actor’ had injuries to his face and damage to his car. Again, if true, this will be presented to a jury to judge. Like they say, there’s three sides to a story. What is truly troubling, the robbing of the victim; a four against one and beating someone to unconsciousness. Totally uncalled for. This was WRONG and FOOLISH on the ‘actors’ part. And because of these actions, they ruined their future in the process.
Anonymous August 02, 2012 at 05:28 PM
I knew these young men personally. I went to high school with them. I now attend Georgia State University with a 3.8 GPA. So I say that to say I believe the report is fabricated to make these four young men look guilty to the public. Yes, they are guilty for the robbery but every one makes mistakes and should learn from them. No one but the four young men and the "victim" knows what exactly happened with this incident. I have a question. Did they recover the stolen items from the four young men? I was extremely close to one of them and I am disappointed they even put themselves in this situation but I feel that racism is involved in some sort of way. I lived in Maplewood for four years and came across racism on a daily basis. Not only in public but in the classroom. These young men are always together and yes may have come in contact with the law which makes it easier for them to be blamed. I don't know the full story but I just want to say they are in my prayers as well as their families, I hoped they learned their lesson, and I hope justice is served.
Anonymous August 02, 2012 at 05:30 PM
Disregard my question. I just re-read the report.
Anonymous August 02, 2012 at 05:44 PM
I don't think these young men are criminals. I just think they made a stupid decision which they will learn from.
gocougars211 August 02, 2012 at 05:44 PM
I think that the writer of this did a poor job of getting all the facts of the case. It seems that there obvious missing pieces and facts that the writer missed and i am shocked that this article was allowed to be published. As far as the case itself it was wrong for the boys to rob the man, there is no disputing that but if the "victim" hit the driver was he suppose to take that?And would it be natural for his friends to let it go instead of standing up for their friend? Ask yourself that question Ben Steele as you too seem to be a family member or close friend to the victim. It is understandable why you are upset because no one deserves to be knocked out unconscious and robbed but you cannot dismiss other facts of the case and look at one side of it. All i can say is it's up to the courts and legal system to decide what is the truth.
A August 02, 2012 at 05:48 PM
Does the last comment need to be made? Former baseball star? Whether the story is completely true (seems like it's leaving out a lot of major details), bringing up the comment about him being a baseball star is pretty irrelevant. Seems like an unwaranted comment that could only lead to wrong associations and correlations
Ben Steele August 02, 2012 at 08:49 PM
Yes Kimberly, those are my words and yes the jury is out according to me. I looked at the facts. Most of what I stated is fact, the rest is my opinion. The victim recognized his attackers. He knew who they were.The victim is not friends with them. We all "KNEW" the bad element when we went to school and most of us learned to avoid them. I agree...there is always three sides to every story. If you look at just the facts, these four young men are in serious trouble.
Ben Steele August 03, 2012 at 12:23 AM
What is most upsetting is that anyone would attempt to justify the behavior of these four young men. It is only "natural" as you put it, to act this way if you are a criminal. They are. They have criminal records. They are thieves. I'm not related to, nor a close friend of the victim, but I sympathize with him. My interest grew because of how some of you are trying to blame the victim. They could have held him for the police if this guy assaulted one of them. After all there were four of them. Thats what I would have done. Does it make sense that one guy walking alone at 1:30 in the morning would start trouble with four guys in a car? This is a no-brainer. All the judge has to do is decide how long to lock them up. This is like blaming the clerk at a convenience store for getting robbed. Remember kindergarten? No hitting.
Chichi August 04, 2012 at 08:17 PM
Directed at Ben Steel Whats disturbing is the fact that these boys were assaulted first but did act in recklessness manor, yet you talk about these kids as if you know them personally. The most obvious point that hasnt been made (im sure many are abstaining from mentioning) is that these boys are black. Im sure the tone of this discussion would change if they were all of a different race.
NJohnson August 05, 2012 at 01:06 AM
None of the charges seem to include assault...
Ben Steele August 06, 2012 at 12:42 AM
Thanks heynow21, well stated.
Ben Steele August 06, 2012 at 12:43 AM
too ignorant to reply.
Ben Steele August 06, 2012 at 12:47 AM
The conspiracy charge includes the assault. Its much more serious than a simple robbery or a simple assault. This act was premeditated. These cowardly predators were hunting for a victim.
Ben Steele August 06, 2012 at 02:11 AM
correct. Could get 5 to 10 years
Ben Steele August 06, 2012 at 02:40 AM
heynow21, you seem to know a lot about this case. Question: Why is there no photo of Spears?
AIG August 07, 2012 at 02:24 PM
It is amazing how the details of this night are slowing emerging in this post. Admittedly, I am related to one of the four young men. I try to look fairly at all sides of this situation realizing that only the five people there that night know the whole story. The four of them should have never got out of the car, period. They should have called it stupid that someone threw the firecracker and kept it moving. That was there first mistake. Once they moved beyond that they put themselves in the position of being judged by first their community and next a court of law. I agree that their actions put them squarely in the description of what most people would call criminals and those with some compassion would call a grave error in judgement of youth. Ben Steele is passionate in his view and coming from his perspective I understand his stance. Someone has threaten the safety, peace and tranquility of his neighborhood, most of us would be upset if we felt a similar violation. My young family member made a major mistake and it has awakened him to some very harsh realities that he just couldn't see before. Young adults especially young men between the ages of 16 - 24 often operate with a vision of life that leads them to make some very unwise decisions. We can look back at any number of incidents that have been the result of college kids making bad decsions and yes they are in the papers. Fraternity pranks resulting in severe injuries and death. We were all young once.
AIG August 07, 2012 at 02:41 PM
When young people make a mistake of this magnitude we as the public have a chance to do much more than send them to prison and ruin the rest of their life, we have an opportunity to turn them around and make a better person out of them. We have an opportunity to use them to reach others than may listen to them when they wouldn't listen to anyone else. I'm not saying the crime should go without punishment, I'm saying we also need to see the opportunity. The way things work now, a youthful mistake only creates another group of men that will go to prison, get out and never be able to be a useful member of society. Most people have either done something or have knowledge of something that was done that if devulged could legally incriminate them. Most people are fortunate to never have to face the consequences of their actions. My prayers go out to everyone involved, the victim, the "criminals", the community, and to Ben Steele. No one walks away without being touched by this incident. I pray that the best for everyone concerned comes to pass whatever that may be.
TheRealest August 07, 2012 at 03:06 PM
It's sad that you're all sitting at your computers arguing about a case that has nothing to do with any of you. Is this what stay at home parents look forward to?
AIG August 07, 2012 at 08:01 PM
Unfortunately this case will impact several people on this blog. It's never just the victim and perpetrators that are affected. It is their family and friends as well as the community. I truly hope that you never have to experience this heartache.
Kimberly James August 09, 2012 at 04:56 AM
"Yes, my heart would be broken. It would be broken because of what a terrible job I must have done raising him, and how my flesh and blood would be going to jail, and also for the victim." Let me say this heynow21, the nutcase who shot up the Sikh Temple in Wisconsin, his parents were devastated because that's not the way they raised him. He said himself, the racism that he learned was mostly while he was in the army. Do I blame this guys family? No. They did the best they could even though they did not agree with his ideology. Even though you were putting yourself in the situation; what a way in taking a swipe at the parents of the accusers. What these four young men did was criminal and they will have to pay a price for their actions. However, who are you to judge a person and condemn them for the rest of their lives?
Kimberly James August 09, 2012 at 10:47 PM
I have and I stand on what I say. Why bring this up in the first place? And I again, who are you to judge and condemn a person for the rest of their lives? "I wrote that I would be heartbroken and I would feel like a failure as a parent. I really would. If my son brutally beat and robbed a young man in a 4 on 1 confrontation, that's exactly how I'd feel to know I raised such a thieving coward." Your words. Again, why bring this up? And I DO see what your trying to imply. Perhaps, 'passive aggressive' in your statement? You need to choose YOUR words correctly especially when your say things like, "they don't belong here. Not in MAPSO, not anywhere where decent people live." And what does that solve? I am in NO WAY defending the 4 accusers. That's why we have a judicial sysyem that will decide their fate; not you.
Bart March 12, 2013 at 01:28 PM
Brutally beat and one punch are two completely different things every action has a reaction and I feel like more fingers should be pointed at the boy who originally acted irresponsibly. How dangerous could it have been if the fire cracker didn't land where the boy thought it would. This would have been a completely different story. I was also told that the young man was intoxicated.


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