A 21-year-old Camden man has pleaded guilty for his role in a deadly 2011 carjacking from the Trump Taj Mahal casino garage in Atlantic City.
Eric S. Darden will be sentenced to 40 years for felony murder in a plea deal accepted by Superior Court Judge Bernard DeLury, the Atlantic County Prosecutor's Office announced Friday. Darden must serve 30 years before becoming eligible for parole.
The charge indicates complicity in events that led to the fatal shooting of Sunil Rattu, 28, of Old Bridge, N.J., but not to the homicide itself, authorities said.
Two other Camden men were arrested in the abduction and murder, which came 16 months after the fatal carjacking of another Taj Mahal patron from the same garage.
Phillip L. Byrd, 21, and Raheem D. Simmons, 19, are scheduled to stand trial in April on first-degree murder charges in the shooting of Rattu on Sept. 18, 2011. They also are accused of wounding his girlfriend, Radha Ghetia, 24, of Parlin, N.J.
Darden had also faced a first-degree murder charge.
The three men robbed and carjacked Rattu and Ghetia at gunpoint around 8 a.m., according to authorities. A 911 call at 8:27 led police to the Middlesex County couple's vehicle, abandoned less than a mile from the garage.
The victims were in the car. Rattu had been shot twice in the head. Ghetia survived a gunshot wound to the upper torso.
Darden is serving a sentence for another conviction. He will serve his terms concurrently.