CRIME

Appeal denied for 2007 New Jersey triple murder defendant

A New Jersey appeals court has denied the appeal of a man convicted in the 2007 murders of three college-bound friends in a Newark schoolyard.

Jose Carranza had argued he received ineffective assistance from his lawyer, whom he said pressured him not to testify.

Carranza contended he was at the crime scene, but didn't participate in the killings. The Peruvian native was in the country illegally at the time of the killings of Dashon Harvey, Terrance Aeriel and Iofemi (eye-OH'-feh-mee) Hightower.

Six men and boys were convicted or pleaded guilty in the slayings. Carranza received an aggregate sentence of 155 years.

The victims were robbed at gunpoint and lined up in front of a wall and shot. A fourth victim was sexually assaulted, stabbed and shot but survived.