From Acting Essex County Prosecutor Robert D. Laurino:
Acting Essex County Prosecutor Robert D. Laurino announced today that two Atlantic County men have been convicted of the January 2017 Maplewood triple murder following a trial before the Honorable Richard T. Sules, Judge of the Superior Court.
The jury deliberated for a week before finding Lavelle T. Davis, 37, of Galloway, and Jimmy P. Mays, 34, formerly of Egg Harbor Township, guilty of the murders of Michael Davis, 45, of Maplewood, Roshana Kelson, 30, of Paterson, and Lance Fraser, 44, of Newark.
According to Assistant Prosecutor Carlo Fioranelli, who tried the case with Assistant Prosecutor Sean Dickson, on Jan. 29, 2017, Mays, Lavelle Davis and an unknown co-conspirator went into 38 Van Ness Court in Maplewood, where Michael Davis – the victim – resided looking for drugs and cash. The three men, who knew Michael Davis, shot and killed Michael Davis and Roshana Kelson in the upstairs bedroom. They then tortured Lance Fraser. After torturing Fraser, the individuals shot and killed him. The three people ransacked the home and took items.
The victims were found shot to death when firefighters went to the location to do a wellness check after family members reported they had been unable to reach the three.
Late Friday night both defendants were found guilty of conspiracy, murder, felony murder, burglary, robbery, criminal restraint, and weapons offenses.
“The Kelson, Davis, and Fraser families went through a nightmare because of what occurred at 38 Van Ness Court on January 29th, 2017. I hope the verdict gives them some sense of closure and that the families continue to heal following this tragedy,” said Assistant Prosecutor Fioranelli.
Both defendants, who have prior felony convictions, face life in prison when they are sentenced on June 26.
Davis has two prior felony convictions. One for conspiracy to commit aggravated assault and a second for aggravated assault on a law enforcement officer. Davis was convicted on April 30, 2010 and sentenced to six years in New Jersey State Prison. Under the No Early Release Act, he was required to serve 85 percent of his sentence before he was eligible for parole.
Mays has four prior felony convictions. On April 16, 2010, he was convicted of bailing jumping, possession of a controlled dangerous substance, unlawful possession of a weapon and possession of a weapon for an unlawful purpose. He was sentenced to five years in New Jersey State Prison.