Joshua Higgins pleads not guilty to killing George Smith, who came to wife's defense

Joshua Higgins, 19, of Newark, allegedly shot and killed George Smith outside Smith's Jersey City home on Sunday evening. (4/10/14)

JERSEY CITY - A suspect accused of fatally shooting a man trying to get his wife's purse back from robbers has pleaded not guilty

Joshua Higgins, 19, of Newark, allegedly shot and killed George Smith outside Smith's Jersey City home on Sunday evening. 

Smith had come to his wife's defense during a robbery. Friends say it was just like him to do all he could to help.

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"He was the greatest guy in the world," says Daniel O'Connor. "He would never hurt a fly. If you needed George for something, he'd be there for you."

Police believe Higgins pulled the trigger when Smith tried to get his wife's purse back. Smith's family and friends attended a wake for the 63-year-old on Thursday. 

A second man, 19-year-old Donte Gaskin, of Irvington, is charged with robbery. Investigators say he was found with Mrs. Smith's cellphone. 

Higgins pleaded not guilty to felony murder and weapons charges. He was out on bail for a handgun possession and theft charges when the alleged attack occurred.  

Higgins is being held in the Hudson County jail on $500,000 bail.

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