News Department

2 men found guilty in connection with the kidnapping and murder of Cpl. Hayden Harris in Sussex County

NEWTON, NJ (Sussex County)  — Acting Sussex County Prosecutor Annmarie Taggart Wednesday announced the convictions of Jamaal Mellish and Hannan Aiken for various crimes relating to the shooting and killing of Cpl. Hayden Harris in Byram Township in Dec. 2020.

Jamaal Mellish and Hannan Aiken abducted Cpl. Harris at gun point in Glen Park, New York and took him to the area of Ross Road in Byram Township where he was shot and killed. It is alleged that the motivation behind this killing was over a dispute relating to a vehicle transaction, Taggart said.

Mellish and Aiken, both of Brooklyn, N.Y., were found guilty by a Sussex County Jury of murder, conspiracy to commit murder, kidnapping, conspiracy to commit kidnapping, murder during the commission of a crime, carjacking, conspiracy to commit car jacking, murder during the commission of a crime, unlawful possession of a weapon, possession of a weapon for an unlawful purpose, and hindering one’s apprehension.

“This is a tragic event in which the innocent life of Cpl. Harris was savagely taken over a dispute regarding a vehicle transaction. Jamaal Mellish and Hannan Aiken are now being held accountable for this act of senseless violence,” Taggart said.

The trial lasted approximately 6 weeks. The State called 22 witnesses to the stand and there were over 350 pieces of evidence admitted. Evidence that was admitted included DNA evidence, cell phone tracking evidence, interviews, surveillance videos, and physical evidence found at the scene, Taggart said.

The State also presented various maps which depicted the location and movement of the Defendants on the night in question, Taggart said.

Both Mellish and Aiken face many decades in prison when they are sentenced by state Superior Court Judge Michael C. Gaus who presided over the trial, Taggart said.

The convictions in the case stem from an investigation done by numerous parties which were all crucial in obtaining justice for Cpl. Harris and his family. The agencies involved were the Byram Township Police, New Jersey State Police Crime Scene North, Jefferson County Sherriff’s Office in New York, US Army Criminal Investigative Division in Fort Drum, New York, New York Police Department, Department of Investigation, and the Sussex County Prosecutor’s Office units of Major and High Tech Crimes.

“I would like to thank all of our Law Enforcement partners who worked collaboratively to bring about this just result,” Taggart said.

Jay Edwards

Born and raised in Northwest NJ, Jay has a degree in Communications and has had a life-long interest in local radio and various styles of music. Jay has held numerous jobs over the years such as stunt car driver, bartender, voice-over artist, traffic reporter (award winning), NY Yankee maintenance crewmember and peanut farm worker. His hobbies include mountain climbing, snowmobiling, cooking, performing stand-up comedy and he is an avid squirrel watcher. Jay has been a guest on America’s Morning Headquarters,program on The Weather Channel, and was interviewed by Sam Champion.

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