EXCLUSIVE: The last hurdle was cleared yesterday for one of the highest-profile murder trials in Bergen County in recent years to begin.
A judge in Hackensack ruled that investigators from the Bergen County Prosecutor’s Office acted legally in filing a request for cellphone records that pointed them to their primary suspect in the death of rapper Kampane, whose charred body was found in an SUV parked on a Paramus cul-de-sac the morning of Aug. 16, 2011. He had been shot before his body was burned, prosecutors said.
Four days later, prosecutor’s detectives arrested and charged Randy K. Manning of Brooklyn with killing the victim, whose real name was Rhian Stoute.
Denying a motion from Manning’s defense lawyer, Superior Court Judge Edward A. Jerejian yesterdayr uled in Hackensack that the cellphone records that put him in the area at the time the body was dumped were obtained legally.
Manning confessed to the crime during the interrogation that followed, prosecutors said.
Members of Stoute’s family, including his mother, have been in court all week for the final motions leading up to the trial, which is now set to begin the end of January. Jury selection begins Jan. 7.
The purpose, a cousin of Stoute’s told CLIFFVIEW PILOT , is so “the judge will see his family and know this was a man who had people who cared for him.”
He said they also believe that his cousin’s killer had help.
“It was a heinous crime, and I don’t believe most people could do something like that by themselves,” the cousin said.
Manning will be tried with two co-defendants, former girlfriend Natuchka Etienne and friend Delroy Clarke.
Clarke, a native of Trinidad who lives in Englewood, is charged with picking up Manning on Route 4 near Forest Avenue in Paramus after Manning drove the body in Stout’s SUV to Village Circle West — a street prosecutors said was chosen at random — and left it there.
Etienne, who lived with Manning in Brooklyn, is charged with hindering his arrest by providing a bogus alibi.
Manning, a national of Trinidad and Tobago who used to live on Belmont Street in Englewood before moving to Brooklyn, faces a long list of charges, beginning with first-degree murder. He continues to be held on more than $2 million bail in the Bergen County Jail.
Sometime after they broke into an abandoned Englewood house, Manning shot Stoute with a .40-caliber handgun several times in the head and chest, Bergen County Prosecutor John L. Molinelli told CLIFFVIEW PILOT at the time.
As CLIFFVIEW PILOT reported exclusively, Stoute was shot once in the head, once in the neck and once in the shoulder. Manning then set fire to the body, Molinelli said.
The prsoecutor said Manning took off in Stoute’s black 2001 Chevy Tahoe after the killing, heading to Brooklyn. He returned to the murder scene the next day, “removed the charred body of Rhian Stoute from the house and placed it into the rear cargo” of the vehicle, Molinelli said.
He then drove it to Paramus, where he “randomly selected” Village Circle West and abandoned the SUV there, he said.
As he ran from the Tahoe, Manning tossed clothing and other evidence, Molinelli said. Walking up to Route 4 and Forest Avenue, he called and was picked up by Clarke, the prosecutor said.
A car alarm from the Tahoe sounded at 4:30 a.m., causing a dog in a house on Village Circle in Paramus to bark and his owner to look out the window, where he saw someone running from the vehicle, authorities said.
The car was still there at 8 a.m. and the owner called police.
Paramus Detective Frazier testified that he looked in the car and saw the charred remains of a body that had been shot.
An autopsy by the Bergen County Medical Examiner determined that he succumbed to “multiple gunshot wounds” before his body was torched.
Stoute was identified by fingerprints and at noon the vehicle was loaded onto a flatbed truck to be processed. Detectives quickly obtained a warrant to search it.
Meanwhile, they called Stoute’s mother and got Manning’s cellphone number, then got a warrant from a judge to track its signals.
Cell towers in the area of Village Circle confirmed Manning’s presence, his defense attorney confirmed yesterday.
This gave investigators probable cause to interview him, prosecutors said.
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CLIFFVIEW PILOT BROKE THE STORIES:
- Kampane’s accused killer claims Miranda rights violation: A judge in Hackensack is expected to rule on whether the man accused of murdering rapper Kampane, burning his body and then leaving it in a car on a Paramus side street was properly read his rights before being questioned by police. READ MORE…
- Arrests in murder of rapper Kampane: An ex-con shot the rapper Kampane in the head in a vacant Englewood house, torched the place, then went back to the scene the next day, removed the charred body and left it in the rear cargo of the victim’s SUV on a quiet Paramus street, say authorities who arrested him and two accused accomplices. READ MORE….
- Autopsy confirms rapper Kampane shot before body burned: T he rapper Kampane was shot in the head and killed, then torched in a vacant Englewood apartment, by a former city resident who later went back to the scene, removed the charred body and left it in the rear cargo of the victim’s SUV on a Paramus street, say authorities who arrested him and two accused accomplices. READ MORE….
- Burned body of rapper Kampane found in car in Paramus: The man whose burned body was found in the cargo area of an SUV on a quiet Paramus street this morning has been identified as Brooklyn rapper Kampane. In a tragic irony, the hip-hop artist’s revamped website opens with the sound of a police siren. READ MORE….
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Born in Brooklyn, raised in Flatbush, Stoute was related to the producer J Runnah, who has worked with Jay Z, among others.
“It’s all about the game and how you play your cards,” Stoute sang, touting the joys of living and enjoying the rewards of his new-found fame.
He released his first mix tape in 1997, then went on tour in 2000 with J Runnah and Roc-a-Fella, learning the music business, according to his website, iamkampane.com.
He was in the middle of a major promotional push behind his new music video, “What You Drinkin’ On,” a playful tune, complete with one-liners and wordplay about champagne and other spirits. “This is Part One / I’m tryin’ to get to Part Two,” he sings. “Let’s get it on.”
Stoute would have turned 34 two weeks after he was murdered.
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