Convicted cop killer sentenced to 60 years in prison

A convicted cop killer has been sentenced to 60 years in prison for the deadly drive-by shooting that shooting that took the life of a veteran Newark police officer.



Rasul McNeil-Thomas, 23, was found guilty in February of aggravated manslaughter for the death of Newark Police Officer William Johnson.



On May 26, 2011, Officer Johnson was waiting for his food order at Texas Fried Chicken in Newark while off-duty when bullets came flying into the restaurant from a passing car.



Surveillance video shows Johnson and other patrons falling to the floor. Police said 10 shots were fired.



Officer Johnson, another man and a woman were struck. All but Johnson survived.



Police arrested McNeil-Thomas, then 19 years old, and charged him with murder for the drive-by shooting.



Apparently Officer Johnson was not the intended target. Investigators said McNeil-Thomas and a friend carjacked a vehicle at gunpoint and went looking for the women who had been involved in a brawl with his mother earlier that day.



An Essex County jury acquitted McNeil-Thomas of murder, but found him guilty of aggravated manslaughter.



McNeil-Thomas is currently serving seven years in prison in Union County for car theft and eluding. He will need to complete his current sentence before he will begin the 60-year sentence.


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