Acting Essex County Prosecutor Carolyn A. Murray announced today an Essex County jury convicted Phillip Holden, 40, of Newark of murdering Karen Cunningham, 55, also of Newark.
Mrs. Cunningham had gone to the store to buy a bag of potato chips. She was stepping into her car when she was caught in the crossfire. She was fatally shot by Holden who was shooting at another man, an admitted drug dealer, with whom he had a dispute.
In addition to returning a guilty verdict on murder, the jury also convicted Holden of attempted murder, assault and two weapons charges. Surveillance video played during the trial showed Holden firing his gun four times.
When Holden is sentenced on Aug. 1, he faces life in prison without possibility of parole.
“We are grateful for the jury verdict. We hope it will bring a measure of closure to the family,’’ said Assistant Prosecutor Brian Matthews who tried the case.
The trial took two weeks. The jury deliberated for three days before reaching a verdict.
The Honorable Robert H. Gardner, Judge of the Superior Court, immediately revoked Holden’s bail. However, Holden would not have been released because he is serving a five-year prison sentence on another unrelated charge.