By Robert Florida
Superior Court Presiding Judge Mark S. Ali sentenced James Height to life in prison for fatally shooting Renown Wilson, 55, of Orange, N.J.
Back on August 9, 2023, a jury found Height, 54, guilty of first-degree aggravated manslaughter, second-degree unlawful possession of a gun, and second-degree possession of a gun for an unlawful purpose. Height was convicted in a subsequent proceeding of possession of a weapon by a convicted felon. Judge Ali ordered that the certain persons sentence run consecutive to the life sentence, which added 10 years with five years’ parole ineligibility to Height’s time in state prison.
Assistant Prosecutor F. Garnes, who tried the case with Assistant Prosecutor Arrianna Diamantis, said, “This senseless crime brought unnecessary suffering to Wilson’s family and friends, who can now rest easier knowing that Height will never hurt them again.”
The crimes occurred on June 24, 2021, when Height waited outside Wilson’s home in Orange. When Wilson arrived home, Height shot him in the stomach, then chased him and shot him again, grazing his neck. Wilson, who had known Height for years, had allowed him to stay at his home and helped him find a job. After an argument, however, Height relocated to Salisbury, North Carolina. Five months after moving out, Height returned and shot Wilson. He returned to Salisbury, where he was apprehended at home. Wilson died from his injuries on July 2, 2021.
At the time of the shooting, Height had been out of state prison for about a year after serving 25 years for aggravated manslaughter. During the sentencing, Judge Ali noted that Height was apparently undeterred by his lengthy prison stay. He urged Height to use the rest of his life counseling younger inmates to change the course of their lives by not committing additional crimes.
“Video of the crime showed how calculated it was,” said Assistant Prosecutor Diamantis, “and justice has certainly been served.”