A second member of the group of teenagers charged with beating a homeless man to death as he slept on a Camden park bench pleaded guilty yesterday to aggravated manslaughter.
James Monroe, 18, is set to be sentenced Aug. 29.
He was among four teenagers charged with the brutal attack on 54-year-old John Anthony Smith, which police have described as a dare that went too far.
Smith, who was also known as John Lester, was a fixture in his East Camden neighborhood, according to family members, and often slept in Johnson Cemetery Park, a historic graveyard. Smith's murder stunned his friends, members of the community and his adult son, who lives in Philadelphia.
The teenagers came upon Smith in the cemetery at about 12:30 a.m. on Aug. 30, according to police, and began savagely punching and kicking him. They also beat him with a pipe, leaving him close to death.
Smith was taken to Cooper University Hospital in Camden, where he died 18 days later from his injuries.
Monroe also pleaded guilty to an unrelated sexual-assault charge yesterday, admitting to having sex with a 12-year-old Pennsauken girl last July.
Last month, a 16-year-old from Camden pleaded guilty in juvenile court to Smith's murder. He was sentenced to 14 years in a state correctional facility, and has not been named because he is a juvenile.
Mark Hopkins, 15, of Pennsauken, has waived jurisdiction in juvenile court and is awaiting trial in adult court on the charges. The third teenager charged, a 16-year-old from Pennsauken, will appear today in court.