A New Jersey man was sentenced to nearly four centuries of prison time on Friday over three murders and three attempted murders that stemmed from a Facebook comment that made him mad.
Jeremy Arrington, 31, was sentenced to 375 years in prison by Judge Ronald Wigler over the fatal 2016 stabbings of 8-year-old Aerial Little Whitehurst, her brother 11-year-old Al-Jahon Whitehurst and the fatal shooting of 23-year-old Syasia McBorroughs. Arrington also stabbed the 29-year-old mother of the two dead children and a twin 13-year-old brother and sister — all of whom survived the attack. The judge in the case dubbed the crime scene a literal “house of horrors.”
In sum, Arrington was convicted of 28 separate counts, including weapons charges, in Essex County Superior Court on March 4, 2022.
The horrific incident occurred on Nov. 5, 2016, when Arrington entered the Whitehurst residence. Armed with a gun, he tied up everyone inside, then attacked and tortured his victims with kitchen knives, prosecutors argued during trial. That knife-inflicted torture is said to have lasted for an hour. A young autistic girl, however, was able to escape and called police from inside of a closet, Deputy Chief Assistant Prosecutor Justin Edwab said. That call likely prevented the full house from being murdered by Arrington that awful day, authorities surmised.
The defendant’s alleged motivation for the violence was a post on social media.
“Someone in the house, it appears, may have posted the media account of the fact that Mr. Arrington was wanted on a social media platform and it appears that that’s part of the motivation, at least, for him going to the house on Saturday,” then-acting Essex County Prosecutor Carolyn A. Murray said at a 2016 press conference.
Murray also noted that Arrington “and the family involved had known each other for many years.” The prosecutor went on to note that one of the victims reposted news about Arrington being wanted as a suspect in an October 2016 shooting and sexual assault.
Arrington fled the scene on the day of the violence. He was arrested the next day after barricading himself inside the home of a friend but eventually negotiated a surrender, according to NJ.com.
“This is not a normal thing and we are not going to get used to it in the city of Newark,” Newark Mayor Ras Baraka said in the immediate aftermath of the gruesome home invasion.
More than five years later, the defendant was convicted after a 10-day-long trial that saw 25 witnesses take the stand. According to law enforcement, Arrington had no history of mental illness.
“We are forever grateful to the courageous survivors and witnesses who testified as well as the investigative personnel who helped bring this defendant to justice. Hopefully this verdict will bring some form of justice to all of the families and friends affected by this defendant’s horrific actions,” Edwab said in a statement provided to New York City NBC station WNBC.
According to the TV station, the killer apologized to family members of the victims and one of the survivors who attended the sentencing hearing and read victim impact statements. Under the terms of the Garden State’s ‘No Early Release Act,’ Arrington will technically be eligible for parole if he somehow serves 281 years in prison.
[image via Essex County Prosecutor’s Office]
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