Camden records 58th homicide, ties with 1995 record

Posted: November 11, 2012

A man beaten on Nov. 2 succumbed to his injuries on Friday making him the 58th homicide victim in Camden.

The death matches the record number of homicides in the city set in 1995.

Gregory Holder, 45 of Cherry Hill died Friday at about 12:30 p.m.

The death was announced Saturday morning by Camden County Prosecutor Warren Faulk and Camden Police Chief Scott Thomson.

Holder was assaulted on Broadway and Berkley Streets on Nov. 2 following an argument with two men over a drug transaction, officials said.

The case remains under investigation and anyone with information is asked to contact Camden County Prosecutor's Office Investigator Terry King at 856-225-8500 or Camden Police Detective Brian Razzi at 856-757-7420. Information can also be sent via email to ccpotips@ccprosecutor.org

As in 1995 the roster of homicide victims is broad. This year's victims include a college student who hoped to escape Camden; a peacemaker who tried to squash a dispute; a Vietnam Veteran who was a former substitute teacher, and, in quick succession, two young children.

The first two homicides in 1995 occurred 10 minutes into the new year when an East Camden couple was killed in their home during an attempted robbery.

Nine days into this year, Joram Wise, 25, who was shot in the head, was the first homicide victim.

Among city residents, the outrage over the escalating violence, exploded into rage when Zahree Thomas, 2, and Dominick Andujar, 6, were killed. The two - victims number 42 and 45 respectively - died particularly grisly deaths.

Zahree Thomas was decapitated by his mother, his head placed in a freezer. She admitted to the crime in a rambling 911 call before taking her own life.

Andujar's throat was slashed by a family acquaintance.

A virulent concoction of PCP was implicated in each killing.

Chevonne Thomas, 33, who decapitated Zahree, on Aug. 22 in the Parkside section, had a history of smoking "wet," a mix of marijuana and PCP that can lead to hallucinations and a burst of violence.

Osvaldo Rivera, 31, who allegedly raped and slashed a 12-year-old girl on Sept. 2 and fatally stabbed her 6-year-old brother, Dominick Andujar, who tried to intervene told police he, too, had smoked "wet."

The alleged killers in the death of Zahree and Dominick were quickly known. Not so with the killer of 13-year-old Shaline Seguinot in 1995.

The body of the 7th grade honor student at Pyne Poynt Family School was found in high weeds in North Camden three days after she went for a bicycle ride.

Investigators, her family, and the community were haunted by the crime for three years until a suspect emerged in 1998 It would be another couple of years before an arrest.

Shaline was raped and was stabbed 10 times. Her throat, prosecutors said, was slashed "almost ear to ear."

As weeks dragged on without an arrest, anger, fear and frustration led neighborhood activists to call for the firing of the then-police chief. Shaline's mother, Lourdes Vasquez, became a national figure talking about the case as it went unsolved.

Five years after the killing, the suspect, Miguel Figueroa, was captured in Florida, where he was living under another name. He was convicted for a second time in 2007 after his first conviction was overturned.

Shortly after Shaline's killing, local government leaders called upon then Gov. Christie Whitman and New Jersey Attorney General Deborah Poritz to act. They responded by assigning state troopers to Camden to bolster the efforts of the local police.

This time, city and state leaders are looking abolish the current police department and replace it with a controversial county force, that will only patrol Camden at his point.

Two-year-old Zahree was the youngest victim this year; the oldest was 66-year-old Allen Briscoe, the Vietnam veteran and once a permanent substitute at Camden High.

He died of a brain aneurysm on Jan. 23 after hitting his head on the pavement when a Woodrow Wilson senior, Aleem Mayes, punched him during an argument.

Mayes' pregnant 16-year-old girlfriend was bumped by Briscoe's slow-moving truck at 30th and Berkley Streets when she stepped in front of it.

Briscoe had gotten out of the truck to help the teenager, who suffered minor injuries.

The dead ranged from those involved in the drug trade, in this nine-square-mile city with more than 170 open-air drug markets, to the innocent.

On July 14, Frankie Morales, 39, invited two men who were arguing over an ATV for a drink at his house to keep the disagreement from turning violent. But gunfire erupted right outside his house.

A divorced father of six, Morales had organized a barbecue that day. He wanted to break in his new grill that his longtime girlfriend, Vanessa Correa, whom he lived with surprised him with on Father's Day.

Family members said he grabbed his 7-year-old daughter, trying to shield her from the gunfire, family members said. He loved his girlfriend, roasting pigs and chicken - and a little snow on the ground never stopped him from a good barbecue.

This year's killings also cut down young lives with promise.

Among them was Khalil Gibson, a Camden County College student who had grand dreams for himself and his community, and was considering moving to Atlanta, where his older brother attends Morehouse College.

Gibson was killed on Oct. 6 when a masked gunman, wearing latex gloves, crept up to a parked car in the Fairview neighborhood and shot Gibson and others.

The driver - 20-year-old Jewel Manire - suffered a fatal gunshot wound to the head. She was a single mother of a 4-year-old.

A 20-year-old college student and two 16-year-olds, all passengers in the car, survived.


Contact Darran Simon at 856-779-3829 or at dsimon@phillynews.com, or follow on Twitter @darransimon.

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