Melvin Jovel gets life in prison for Newark schoolyard killings

NEWARK - A judge has ordered the admitted gunman in the Newark schoolyard slayings to life in prison.

Melvin Jovel was sentenced today to three consecutive life sentences plus 20 years for the three execution-style shootings.

The 21-year-old pleaded guilty to murder, attempted murder and weapons charges days before his trial in September. Jovel has 45 days to appeal this sentencing, which is apparently a part of his plea deal.

Prosecutors say Jovel and five others lined up the victims against a wall at the Mount Vernon Elementary School and shot each in the back of the head in 2007.

The sole survivor of the slayings, Natasha Aeriel, criticized him for not looking at her while she spoke in court.

Rodolfo Godinez, who was convicted in the first trial, also was sentenced to three consecutive life terms. Four others are awaiting trial.

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