Acting Essex County Prosecutor Robert D. Laurino announced that Nicholas Welch, 25, of East Orange has been arrested for the murder of 19-year-old Seton Hall student Jessica Moore of Disputanta, Va.
Welch was arrested at approximately 9:05 p.m. yesterday at his South Clinton Street home which is just down the street from the crime scene.
Still at large is Marcus Bascus, 19, also of East Orange. At the same time officers arrested Welch, they also converged on Bascus’s last known address but he was not there. He lives in the same neighborhood at Welch.
Bascus remains a wanted man. Investigators are pursuing leads locally and beyond. Information regarding his status has been entered into the National Crime Information Center (NCIC), a nationwide law enforcement database.
Acting Prosecutor Laurino is asking for help from the public in apprehending Bascus who is also charged with murder. It is alleged that Bascus supplied the murder weapon.
Anyone with information is urged to contact the East Orange Police Department Violent Crimes Task Force at 973-266-5060 or the anonymous tips line at 973-266-5041. Individuals with information may also phone in tips to the Essex County Prosecutor’s Office tips number 1-877-847-7432.
According to the Acting Prosecutor on Saturday morning, Sept. 25, Welch was denied entry to a private, off-campus party on South Clinton Avenue in East Orange. It is alleged that Welch, angry because he was not allowed into the party, obtained a gun from Bascus, came back to the party, kicked in the door and opened fire on approximately 50 college students attending the party.
Ms. Moore sustained fatal injuries. Four other students were wounded but survived. For safety reasons, their names have not been released yet.
Yesterday, Welch was charged with murder, conspiracy to commit murder and weapons charges.
Last night Welch was taken into to custody at the East Orange Police Department and later moved to the Essex County Correctional Facility in Newark. Bail was set for Welch at $2 million by the Honorable Joseph Cassini, 3rd JSC.
Four counts of attempted murder are expected to be added by the time Welch is arraigned tomorrow – Wednesday, Sept. 29 at 9 a.m. before the Honorable Judge Peter J. Vazquez in Room 604, at the Veterans Court House, 50 West Market Street, Newark, NJ.
Bascus is also charged with murder, conspiracy to commit murder and weapons charges for his role as an accomplice.
Acting Prosecutor Laurino praised the work of law enforcement officers which resulted in an arrest in less than 72 hours after the fatal shooting.
“From the moment this random and senseless crime was reported, members of law enforcement throughout Essex County have worked cooperatively and tirelessly to arrest the person or persons responsible for the murder of Ms. Moore,’’ said Acting Prosecutor Laurino.
He particularly thanked the New Jersey State Police Office of Forensic Science for working to provide critical evidence that led to the arrest of Welch. He also lauded the East Orange, South Orange and Newark Police Departments, the Essex County Sheriff’s Department and the New Jersey Institute of Technology Police Department for their assistance.
Reporters wishing to bring cameras into the courtroom for Welch’s arraignment must contact the Trial Court Administrator’s office at 973-693-5701.
The charges are mere accusations. All defendants are presumed to be innocent unless and until they are proven guilty beyond a reasonable doubt in a court of law.