A Pleasantville teenager entered a guilty plea today to aggravated manslaughter in connection with the 2009 shooting death of a 46-year-old Egg Harbor Township man. The defendant faces 18 years in prison when he is sentenced next year, Atlantic County Prosecutor Ted Housel stated.
Tashan Gonzalez, 19, of Wellington Avenue, must serve 15 years in prison, three months and 18 days before parole eligibility. During the plea hearing, Gonzalez told the court he shot Michael Maina Jr., 46, on Feb. 9, 2009, when the gun he was threatening the victim with during a robbery attempt accidentally discharged. Gonzalez was 17-years-old at the time of the slaying. He was arrested shortly after killing Maina and remained at the Youth Detention Center at Harborfields in Egg Harbor City until his matter was moved to Adult Court. Gonzalez will be on parole for five years when released, according to Assistant Prosecutor Anne Crater who represented the state this morning.
Pleasantville police received a 911 call at 5:30 p.m. on the night of the crime reporting that a man was shot in the 400 Block of Alder Avenue in Pleasantville. When police arrived, they discovered Maina in the driver’s seat of his vehicle bleeding profusely from the head. Maina was rushed to AtlantiCare Regional Medical Center, City Campus where he died of his injuries. Atlantic County Medical Examiner Dr. Hydow Park determined the victim died of a gunshot wound to the head.
Gonzalez remains in the Atlantic County Justice Facility in lieu of $500,000 cash or bond bail pending sentencing.
The defendant will be sentenced before Superior Court Judge Max Baker on Jan. 14, 2011.