Pair Guilty In DJ Mo’s Murder

December 18, 2018
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Pair Guilty In DJ Mo’s Murder

WILKES-BARRE — As the jury foreman read the verdict, some members of Michael Onley’s family breathed a sigh of relief.

David “D-Rock” Nealy, meanwhile, slumped in his chair, his face in his hands.

Nealy, 37, of Kingston, was found guilty Monday along with Roberto “Ruthless” Battle, 29, of Brooklyn, New York, of first-degree murder and conspiracy to commit murder for shooting Onley in the head outside the now-closed Outsiders Bar at 650 S. Main St. on Oct. 13, 2013.

Prosecutors said Battle was angered after being kicked out of the club so he committed a drive-by shooting with Nealy behind the wheel.

“Ruthless and D-Rock were disrespected, and that’s the way they took it and they wouldn’t have that,” Assistant District Attorney Jarrett Ferentino said after the verdict. “It could have absolutely been worse. There could have been many more victims. This was nothing more than a violent firing into a crowd of people who were leaving a club, who did nothing wrong to encourage that kind of reaction.”

According to prosecutors, after being kicked out of the club Battle had Nealy drive him to a friend’s house to pick up a Kel-Tec 9mm pistol and then return to the club to do a drive-by.

Surveillance video showed shots popping off from the passenger window of a silver Mercedes-Benz that prosecutors said Nealy was driving. One of the shots hit Onley — a well-known disc jockey who went by DJ Mo and was known to organize anti-violence and anti-drug events — between the eyes as he sat on a chair outside the bar door.

Witnesses testified Battle and Nealy went to a party after the shooting and Battle laughed about shooting up the bar.

On Friday, Nealy took the stand in his own defense and claimed he was unaware Battle planned a drive-by. Nealy claimed he thought Battle was picking up a bottle of liquor — rather than the gun — from the friend’s house and asserted that he only faintly heard the gunshots because of music blasting in the car.

He claimed he thought the car was taking fire, so he fled.

Battle declined to testify, but during closing arguments his attorney, Allyson Kacmarski, tried to pin the shooting on the gun owner, Shakim “Killer” Varick. Varick previously testified he was in New York at the time of the shooting.

The jury deliberated for about an hour and 15 minutes before convicting both men of first-degree murder and conspiracy to commit murder. Both defendants face mandatory life in prison at sentencing Jan. 31.

“Today’s jury verdict demonstrates that sometimes justice is delayed, but justice was not denied for Michael Onley and his family and friends,” Luzerne County District Attorney Stefanie Salavantis said in a statement. “After years of diligent investigative work by multiple law enforcement agencies and county prosecutors, Michael Onley’s loved ones — for the first time — can rest knowing that Onley’s killers have been convicted and will soon be sentenced.”

Battle showed little reaction to the verdict and declined to comment as sheriff’s deputies escorted him out of court.

Nealy maintained his innocence as he was taken back to the Luzerne County Correctional Facility.

“They convicted an innocent man to life,” Nealy said. “I’m disappointed. I never did anything.”

Nealy’s attorney, Thomas P. Sundmaker of Stroudsburg, said he was disappointed in the verdict but noted Nealy ignored his advice that taking the stand would not be in his best interest.

“Several of their witnesses were there because they were getting favorable treatment in other criminal cases,” Sundmaker said. “Those are all things that you basically ask a jury to take into consideration. But, unfortunately, when your client takes the stand it makes it difficult, when almost all doubt is removed.”

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