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4 defendants in Fairview card game killing all charged with murder

Photo Credit: Mary K. Miraglia, CLIFFVIEW PILOT Courthouse Reporter
Photo Credit: Mary K. Miraglia, CLIFFVIEW PILOT Courthouse Reporter

YOU READ IT HERE FIRST: All four defendants arrested in the killing of a Fairview card game operator during a holdup last spring are charged with three counts of murder in a sweeping grand jury indictment returned in Hackensack today that features 10 first-degree and 11 second-degree charges.

This comes after a series of bail reductions for both the alleged ringleader, Keshawn Malone, and the accused getaway driver, Blonson Florestal.

Also charged are Jose Rivas and Evens Dumas.

Malone, Rivas and Dumas were carrying guns the night of May 3 when they stormed the Walker Street apartment of 50-year-old Jeronimo Lopez during a regular Friday night poker game, authorities said.

While Florestal waited outside, the trio put nearly a dozen people on the floor and took $1,800 in cash and valuables, they said.

After taking Lopez into the kitchen, Dumas shot him in the stomach, Bergen County Prosecutor John L. Molinelli said at the time. Lopez died later in surgery at Hackensack University Medical Center.

Dumas — who may have been in the country illegally — was carrying two guns, a .380-caliber and a .25-caliber, the prosecutor said.

Several Fairview officers and detectives from his office worked the case, canvassing the neighborhood and assembling valuable information, the prosecutor said. Arrests were made soon after.

The indictment charges all four with various offenses — among them three counts of murder in the course of committing a crime and eight of illegal weapons possession.

It also charges them with:

conspiring to commit armed burglary and conspiring to commit armed robbery;
entering the residence and committing the robbery with a deadly weapon;
assaulting Lopez and six other men during the theft;
hindering arrest by concealing or destroying evidence, including guns and property stolen from the victims.

Florestal was also charged with a single count of hindering by lying to police.

(l. to r.) Florestal, Dmas, Malone, Rivas (FILE PHOTOS: Mary K. Miraglia, CLIFFVIEW PILOT Courthouse Reporter)

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