Acting Essex County Prosecutor Carolyn A. Murray announced today that an Essex County jury convicted two defendants of drug possession and distribution.
Quarwee Walker, 32, of Spotswood and Brian Witherspoon, 27, of Orange were found guilty of selling crack cocaine on multiple occasions at 231 North Clinton Street in East Orange.
“Good police work by the East Orange Police Department, especially Detectives Rahsaan Johnson and Ramon Rodriguez, were crucial to the success of this case,’’ said Assistant Prosecutor Jessica Guarducci, who tried the case.
From December 10, 2008 to Jan. 1, 2009, Walker and Witherspoon were selling narcotics inside and outside a three-family house located within 1,000 feet of two schools, said Assistant Prosecutor Guarducci.
Today both were found guilty of conspiracy and multiple drug possession and distribution counts. Back in March the two were tried on the same charges but the jury was unable to reach a verdict. The decision was made to retry the defendants.
Following a second three-week trial, the jury deliberated for less than four hours before finding Walker and Witherspoon guilty. Walker was convicted of three counts of possession of a controlled dangerous substance, three counts of distribution to an undercover police officer and three counts of distribution within 1,000 feet of a school. Witherspoon was found guilty of two counts of possession of a controlled dangerous substance, two counts of distribution to an undercover police officer and two counts of distribution within 1,000 feet of a school.
During the trial the two had been free on bail. The Honorable Peter V. Ryan, Judge of the Superior Court, immediately revoked bail once the verdict was announced. The two defendants are scheduled to be sentenced by Judge Ryan on Sept. 23. Both face 5 to 10 years because of their prior convictions.
Witherspoon has 11 adult arrests and four prior convictions for two incidents of aggravated assault, eluding the police and weapons offenses. Walker has four prior arrests and two prior adult convictions for drug distribution and unlawful weapons possession.