Two more teenagers will be prosecuted as adults in the slaying of a Burlington County couple after a judge Wednesday granted requests to remove the cases from juvenile court.
David Hardwick, 17, of Pennsauken, and Peter Leonce of Queens, N.Y., who was 17 when charged, each appeared before Judge Angelo DiCamillo of Camden County Family Court. The teenagers opted not to fight the move to adult court, which means they could face a life sentence, instead of a maximum 20-year sentence in juvenile court.
Leonce and Hardwick are scheduled to be arraigned Thursday.
They are charged with murder in the Feb. 22 gang-related slayings of Michael "Doc-Money" Hawkins, 23, and his girlfriend, Muriah Ashley Huff, 18.
In all, 10 people, including four juveniles, have been charged. The youngest, a 14-year-old girl, remains in juvenile court and is scheduled for a hearing in May to determine whether she will be prosecuted as an adult.
One juvenile was charged as an adult this month.
Leonce's attorney, David S. Bahuriak, said Wednesday that he had been prepared to fight the waiver to adult court before his client changed his mind.
"He's eager to move the case forward, and we believe the sooner the true facts come out, the sooner that he will be exonerated of these murders," he said.
Bahuriak asked that his client be moved to a jail other than the Camden County jail, where most of the defendants are being held. The jail's warden will decide, authorities said.
"There have been some subtle and not-so-subtle threats to his security," Bahuriak told reporters in an interview.
He said he hadn't discussed the threats with authorities, who were not aware of them.
Bahuriak declined to detail the nature of the threats, but said they had started before authorities arrested Leonce, who turned himself in.
Leonce sat in court wearing baggy pants and a red sweatshirt that swallowed his thin frame. He turned 18 this month.
Leonce, who dated the 14-year girl who is charged, according to his mother, had admitted to authorities that he was in the house at the time of the killings.
"Being there doesn't mean he's guilty of murder," Bahuriak said.
He said many "inconsistent" allegations and statements had been given to police, including some that exonerated his client.
Some defendants have made statements implicating each other, but Bahuriak said his client hadn't implicated anyone.
Authorities allege Hawkins and Huff stopped by the Berkley Street rowhouse in Camden where members of a set of the Bloods gang lived.
Gang members accused Hawkins of being a member of the rival Crips gang, sources said.
Hawkins was bound, gagged, and beaten for hours in one room while his girlfriend was repeatedly beaten in another room, authorities said.
Authorities allege Kuasheim "Presto" Powell, 24, of Camden - the gang's leader - arrived later in the day, continued the beating, and shot Hawkins at least five times in the head. Authorities said Powell had then helped torture and choke Huff as she begged for her life.
Powell was arrested last month after fleeing to California.
Huff and Hawkins were buried in a shallow grave behind the rowhouse, and unearthed after police received a tip.
The suspects are associated with the Leuders Park Piru Bloods, named after the gang's Los Angeles roots. Bahuriak said Leonce admitted being a member.