Teen accused of killing 2 people at a Halloween party sentenced

The teen responsible for killing two young women at a Halloween party last year was sentenced Thursday morning.

The teen responsible for killing two young women at a Halloween party last year was sentenced Thursday morning. (4/20/17)

NEWBURGH - An 18-year-old was sentenced Thursday to 40 years in prison for killing two young women at a Halloween party last year.

Nija Johnson shot and killed 18-year old Omani Free and 20-year old Tabitha Cruz at a party in Newburgh in October 2016.

Johnson, who was 17 at the time of the shootings, pleaded guilty in the deadly rampage that also injured five others. Of the five people who were wounded at the party, one person was permanently paralyzed.

"To this day, I still miss my daughter, look how beautiful she was. She had her whole career and it was just taken from us like that, in the blink of an eye," said Miguel Cruz, Tabitha's father.

Rhonda Valentine, Omani Free’s mother, said she forgives Johnson, but added that he deserves to be in prison for the rest of his life. 

Johnson must serve a minimum of 40 years before coming up for parole.

The District Attorney’s Office says even though Johnson will be eligible, there is no guarantee that he will be even granted parole.

 

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