Latino pleads guilty to killing young soccer star at New Jersey school
A judge accepted a plea deal with defendant Yohan Hernandez in connection with the murder of soccer star Moussa Fofana, a move that sparked outrage in a New Jersey community.
Hernández was arrested in August of last year on suspicion of killing Fofana, young immigrant from Liberia shot in June 2021 on the sports field of his school in Maplewood, a crime that shocked the community.
Despite the criticism, Judge Ronald Wigler allowed the plea deal to go forward, citing the recommendation of the Essex County Prosecutor’s Office.
“I’m not surprised they’re not satisfied, and I don’t think I would be satisfied if I were in their position,” Judge Wigler told Fofana’s family. “I respect your wishes, but I also have to respect the discretion that prosecutors have in entering this plea agreement.”
Under the terms of the plea agreement, Hernandez will 15 years in prison. It’s much less than the sentence the family was asking for: 30 years to life in prison.
Mourners criticized the “ridiculously low prison sentence of 15 years.” “For the first time in history, victim impact statements were allowed during the routine plea hearing, and family members clamored for justice,” she said. ABC News.
Fofana, a Columbia High School junior, was 18 years old when she was fatally shot at the Underhill Sports Complex on the night of June 6, 2021. Another 17-year-old student was also shot but was treated at a hospital and survived. The motive for the shooting has not been revealed.
Hernandez, an immigrant resident of Newark, was arrested two months later and charged with murder, aggravated assault and other crimes. The judge further informed Hernández that you will probably be deported after you serve your sentence.
In a similar case, in September 2021, an 18-year-old Latino youth was arrested on suspicion of fatally stabbing student Quraan Smith (16) during a fight after a high school football game in Dutchess County, New York.