graphic News and Events graphic



John R. Hagerty, State Police Public Information Office
(609) 882-2000 x6515

Sgt. Al Della Fave
(609) 882-2000 x6514


Newark Man Identified As Primary Suspect... 14 Year-Old In Custody...
Investigation Continues...

       W. Trenton - Colonel Carson J. Dunbar, Jr., Superintendent of the New Jersey State Police, today announced that State Police detectives have secured arrest warrants charging a 31 year-old Newark resident and career criminal with murder and related charges in the May 23rd shooting death of an Ohio truck driver whose body was located on the shoulder of Interstate 78 in Newark. Additionally, the State Police have arrested and charged a 14 year-old Newark youth for his alleged participation the crime.

       The announcement was made at a press conference at the State Police Totowa Headquarters where Major Juan Mattos and Capt. Frank Simonetta of the New Jersey State Police, Major Robert Werts, Pennsylvania State Police and Essex County Prosecutor Donald Campolo said that detectives assigned to the Troop B Criminal Investigations Office and the Major Crime Unit, along with PA State Police detectives and Essex County Prosecutor's Office investigators are actively seeking murder suspect Norman James, aka "Za-Kee" or "Zak", a 31 year-old black male believed to be residing in the Newark area. The arrest warrant charges James with murder, kidnaping, receiving stolen property and weapons offenses.

      The State Police also announced the posting of an $8,000 reward for information leading to the arrest and conviction of the person or persons responsible for the May 23rd murder of truck driver James Burt, 56, of McDonald, Ohio. The reward has been posted by Burt's employer, Illinois-based Boncosky Services, Inc. Persons with information that will assist State Police in locating and arresting murder suspect Norman James are encouraged to contact the New Jersey State Police Troop B Criminal Investigation Office at (973) 785- 9419. All information will remain confidential. James should be considered armed and extremely dangerous.

       According to State Police, the investigation got underway on May 23 when State Police communications/dispatch operators at the Totowa Headquarters were notified that trucker James Burt was overdue at a Massachusetts delivery destination and that the company's Global Positioning System had fixed the location of the truck in the Irvington, NJ area. Trooper John C. Phelan, assigned to the Somerville Station, located the tractor-trailer on Interstate 78 parked off the westbound shoulder of the highway near the Clinton Place overpass in Newark. The body of Mr. Burt was located lying on the right shoulder, an apparent victim of multiple gunshot wounds to the head.

      Subsequent investigation by State Police detectives established a link between the Burt murder and the assault and robbery of a Pennsylvania State trooper on Interstate 80 in Monroe County, PA on May 22. The PA trooper was assaulted by two black male suspects who subsequently stole the trooper's service weapon, portable radio and marked patrol vehicle, leaving the injured trooper at the scene of the roadside assault. The marked PASP vehicle was later recovered approximately 20 miles away in Monroe after being wrecked and abandoned on an Exit ramp from I-80 to SR-380.

       New Jersey and Pennsylvania State Police detectives assigned to the investigation determined that truck driver Burt came upon the accident scene involving the marked PASP patrol vehicle, stopped to offer assistance, and was subsequently carjacked by the two suspects. It is alleged that the two suspects then forced Burt to drive them to the I-78 Clinton Overpass area of Newark where he was shot and killed.

       At approximately 8:30 p.m. yesterday (Tues., June 5), the joint investigation task force arrested the 14 year-old suspect as he walked on Wainwright Street in Newark. The arrest was made without incident. The juvenile has been charged with murder, kidnaping, receiving stolen property and weapons offenses under the juvenile delinquency act. The juvenile has been lodged in the Essex County Youth Correction Center pending arraignment.

       New Jersey State Police DSG Alvin Smith of the Troop B Criminal Investigation Office and Det. I Kevin Dunn of the Major Crime Unit, along with detectives from the Pa. State Police Troop N, Fern Ridge Station and investigators from the Essex County Prosecutor's Office conducted various aspects of the investigation.

       The investigation remains active and ongoing and additional charges will be filed upon the arrest of fugitive Norman James. Persons with information related to the investigation are encouraged to contact the New Jersey State Police Troop B Criminal Investigation Office at (973) 785-9419.


# # #

Compliments & Complaints
News & Events
About Us