Acting Essex County Prosecutor Robert D. Laurino announced today that Wilquan Williams, 33, of Irvington pleaded guilty to aggravated manslaughter for killing 20-year-old Rasheena McCray of Newark.
At approximately 1 a.m. on March 1, 2008 McCray was standing in front of the Tremont Lounge, located in Newark, where she and others had gathered for a birthday party, when Williams rammed a 1998 Cadillac DeVille into a crowd of patrons, killing her and injuring six other people. The incident was captured on video surveillance tape.
Appearing before the Honorable Judge Alfonse J. Cifelli, Williams admitted killing Ms. McCray and injuring others. He pleaded to one count of aggravated manslaughter, one count of attempted murder, operating a motor vehicle without a license and weapons charges. In this case, the weapon was the Cadillac.
Williams came back to the Tremont Lounge, drove up on the sidewalk and mowed down patrons because he was angry with a bouncer who had forced him out of the club. Williams mistakenly thought one of the patrons was the bouncer who had removed him from the club. There were a number of people in front of the club because someone had sprayed mace in the club, causing some of the patrons to come onto the street.
At the time of the incident, Williams had just been released from state prison and was living in a halfway house in Irvington.
Under the terms of the plea agreement, Williams is expected to be sentenced to 22 years in state prison. Sentencing is scheduled for March 25. The plea agreement also requires him to serve 85 percent of his sentence – approximately 18 years and seven months – before he is eligible for parole.