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    Man gets life term for mistaken-identity murder of teacher

    May 24, 2019

    FREEHOLD, N.J. (AP) — A man convicted in a mistaken-identity home invasion that ended with a teacher being killed has been sentenced to life in prison.

    Jerry Spaulding maintained his innocence when he was sentenced Thursday, telling the judge he didn’t get a fair trial and that witnesses had lied. The 41-year-old Keyport man must now serve nearly 64 years before he becomes eligible for parole.

    Spaulding and two other men were convicted in March of felony murder and numerous other counts in the 2009 death of Jonelle Melton.

    Monmouth County prosecutors have said the men planned to rob a drug dealer but went to the wrong Neptune City apartment and attacked Melton when they realized their mistake. The 33-year-old Red Bank middle school social studies teacher was found beaten, shot and stabbed.

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