A southern New Jersey man is now headed to prison after he unsuccessfully sought to withdraw his guilty plea in the slaying of a man found shot to death at an apartment complex.
Lenny Ross Jr. of Pleasantville was sentenced Friday to 30 years in state prison. That came shortly after a judge found Ross had provided ``no colorable claim of innocence'' or reasons to justify vacating the plea.
Ross had pleaded guilty in January to aggravated manslaughter just as opening arguments were due to start in his murder trial. Authorities have said the 31-year-old Ross shot 28-year-old Steven Gurss Jr. of Somers Point after they were involved in a dispute on Christmas Eve 2011.
Gurss, who was shot inside a car, died the next day.
Ross will have to serve nearly 26 years before he becomes eligible for parole. Prosecutors successfully sought the maximum sentence for Ross, arguing that he remains a danger to the community as a violent drug dealer with prior convictions for selling drugs and carrying guns.
Another defendant in the case, Teonka Williams of Pleasantville, was sentenced Friday to three years of probation. The 28-year-old Williams pleaded guilty to hindering apprehension for giving investigators false information during the investigation