NEWARK - The man accused of pulling the trigger that killed three college friends in Newark's schoolyard massacre has decided to plead guilty.

The plea deal means Melvin Jovel will spend the rest of his life behind bars while the victim's families avoid the torment of sitting through another trial. The victim's families were notified this past weekend by the prosecutor's office that a deal was in the works.

Iofemi Hightower, Dashon Harvey and Terrance Aeriel were killed in the shootings. The sole survivor, Natasha Aeriel, took the stand in Rodolfo Godinez's trial and identified Jovel as the shooter.

Jovel is scheduled to be sentenced Nov. 4. It is not yet known when the next suspect will go to trial or which suspect it will be.

Court voids statement in NJ schoolyard slayingsCommunity praises sentence in Newark schoolyard killingsTestimony concludes in NJ triple slay trial Jurors hear from weapons experts in NJ triple slay New details may emerge in Newark schoolyard killings Schoolyard killings jury sees crime scene evidence Survivor to testify in Newark schoolyard murdersTrial begins in Newark schoolyard slayings Trial set for April in Newark schoolyard slayings Newark schoolyard slaying suspects hear charges