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Suspect in killings of New Jersey college students has informal extradition hearing


A suspect in the execution-style slayings of three college students in Newark, N.J., had an informal extradition hearing Thursday.

Rodolfo Godinez, 24, was arrested Aug. 18 in Oxon Hill. He’s one of six suspects in the Aug. 4 slayings of Terrance Aeriel, 18, Dashon Harvey, 20, and Iofemi Hightower, 20.

The victims were ordered to kneel in front of a wall behind an elementary school and shot in the back of the head in an apparent robbery. A fourth victim Aeriel’s 19-year-old sister, Natasha was shot in the head but survived.

Terrance and Natasha Aeriel were students at Delaware State University, and Hightower had planned to enroll there this fall.

Six people including Godinez’s 16-year-old half-brother have been charged in the slayings, and Godinez is the only one who has not been returned to New Jersey. He told a judge in Prince George’s County shortly after his arrest that he would fight extradition.

It’s unclear whether his effort to remain in Maryland is anything more than a stall tactic. Essentially, he can only argue that he’s not the man New Jersey authorities are looking for.

“It’s just a question of identification,” said Ramon Korionoff, a spokesman for the Prince George’s County state’s attorney’s office. “Rarely do people fight extradition these days, because it’s pretty straightforward.”

Godinez has a formal hearing scheduled for Friday morning, where he will have an opportunity to tell a Prince George’s judge why he should not be extradited.

On Thursday, Godinez was escorted in handcuffs by two police officers into the Maryland Secretary of State’s office, where he met briefly with the assistant attorney general whose job it is to recommend to Gov. Martin O’Malley whether to sign extradition warrants. The hearing was closed to the public because it is considered investigative.

Godinez was not accompanied by a lawyer. A public defender, Rhonda Hudson Fowler, advised him in the Aug. 20 hearing where he said he would fight extradition. She could not immediately be reached for comment.

– Associated Press

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