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Pa. man charged in 2020 Somerset County homicide

FRANKLIN TOWNSHIP, NJ (Somerset County) – A Philadelphia man has been arrested and charged with the 2020 killing of a Franklin Township man, according to Somerset County Prosecutor John P. McDonald.

Juaquan S. Fitzgerald, 33, of Philadelphia was arrested for the homicide of Duane S. Banks, 27, that occurred on April 27, 2020, in Franklin Township, McDonald said.

Fitzgerald was arrested on August 31 in Philadelphia and charged with first-degree murder, second-degree possession of a weapon for an unlawful purpose, second-degree unlawful possession of a weapon, and second-degree unlawfully disturbing human remains. He was lodged at Curran Fromhold Correctional Facility in Philadelphia where he will remain lodged pending an extradition hearing in this matter, McDonald said.

On Wednesday, April 29, 2020, at around 6:38 p.m., police responded to a suspicious activity call at a residence on Park Street in Franklin Township. Responding Officers made contact with individuals near the residence who relayed to officers that they had located a body in the wooded area towards the rear of the residence, McDonald said.

Officers confirmed the presence of a deceased individual and secured the area as a crime scene, McDonald said.

Detectives from the Franklin Township Police Department, the Somerset County Prosecutor’s Office Major Crimes Unit, the Crime Scene Investigations Unit, and Investigator’s from the New Jersey Northern Regional Medical Examiner’s Office responded to conduct the investigation.

An autopsy performed by the medical examiner’s office positively identified the victim as Duane S. Banks and was ruled a homicide, McDonald said.

A lengthy follow-up investigation conducted by the Somerset County Prosecutor’s Office Major Crimes Unit and the Franklin Township Police Department ultimately resulted in the arrest of Fitzgerald, McDonald said.

McDonald thanked the members of the Philadelphia Police Department and the Philadelphia District Attorney’s Office for their assistance in this investigation.

Anyone with information relating to the homicide to contact the Somerset County Prosecutors Office Major Crimes Unit at 908-231-7100 or the Franklin Township Police Department at 732-873-5533 or via the STOPit app. The STOPit app allows citizens to provide anonymous reports including videos and photos. STOPit can be downloaded to your smart phone for free at the Google Play Store or Apple App Store, access code: SOMERSETNJ. Information can also be provided through the Somerset County Crime Stoppers’ Tip Line at 1-888-577-TIPS (8477). All anonymous STOPit reports, and Crime Stopper tips will be kept confidential.

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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