Suspect in 2013 Phillipsburg slaying heading to trial again

Salim Newton will stand trial this spring, accused of killing the mother of his child in a 2013 Phillipsburg shooting. It will be the second attempt at trial for the 30-year-old, who changed attorneys after jury selection began in...

Suspect in 2013 Phillipsburg slaying heading to trial again

Salim Newton will stand trial this spring, accused of killing the mother of his child in a 2013 Phillipsburg shooting.

It will be the second attempt at trial for the 30-year-old, who changed attorneys after jury selection began in October.

The new May 1 trial date was set Thursday at state Superior Court in Belvidere. Newton was in the courtroom wearing an orange prison jumpsuit and shackles, his hair cropped short except for the beard on his chin.

Warren County Assistant Prosecutor Victor Jusino said the state made a plea offer of 25 years in state prison. Newton and his attorney, Michael Priarone, said they intend to go to trial, where Newton could face up to life in prison if convicted of first-degree murder. He is also charged with burglary, criminal contempt and weapons counts.

The murder case: What you need to know

On Sept. 18, 2013, 22-year-old Melissa Williams was found shot to death in her Spruce Alley home in Phillipsburg, at the time the town's first homicide in more than a year.

Neighbors reported hearing at least two gunshots and seeing two people a short time later run down the alley. A gun was found later that morning nearby on Atlantic States Cast Iron Pipe Co. property, and police soon identified Newton, then 26, as a suspect.

Another local homicide case moves toward trial

At the time, Newton was free after posting bail on drug charges in Hunterdon County. He had reportedly been living with Williams, his girlfriend, until abruptly leaving about two weeks before her death for a residence in the 500 block of South Main Street.

U.S. Marshals tracked Newton to Richmond, Va., where he was arrested after about a month on the lam.

Steve Novak may be reached at snovak@lehighvalleylive.com. Follow him on Twitter @type2supernovak and Facebook. Find lehighvalleylive.com on Facebook.

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