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No Execution Sought in Shootings

September 30, 2002

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TOMS RIVER, N.J. (AP) _ Prosecutors said Monday they would not seek the death penalty against a retired police officer accused of killing his granddaughter and three neighbors during a rampage.

John W. Mabie, 70, pleaded innocent to four counts of first-degree murder and four counts of possession of a weapon for unlawful purposes.

A spokesman for Ocean County prosecutors said the wishes of the victims’ families weighed heavily in the decision not to seek the death penalty. Mabie’s attorney, John Furlong, said ``all options are open,″ including a plea deal.

Killed in the February shootings were Mabie’s granddaughter, Natalie Gingerelli, 22, and neighbors Susan Kerian, 43, and Thomas Luyster and Suzanne LaVecchia, both 27.

Prosecutors have not offered a potential motive for the slayings. Friends and family have said Mabie was profoundly affected by the 1971 death of an 11-year-old boy hit by a car he was driving.

On April 9, Seaside Heights police Officer Edward Lutes Jr. fatally shot five neighbors before he wounded his boss and committed suicide.

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