Dante Strong, 21 of Long Branch, admitted yesterday to killing 23 year-old Adrian Anderson, also of Long Branch, during a September 21, 2013 incident on Liberty Street, according to a statement by Acting Monmouth County Prosecutor Christoper J. Gramiccioni.
Officers from the Long Branch Police Department were in the area of Central Avenue and Liberty Street in Long Branch around 2:29 a.m. on September 21, 2013, when they heard gunshots. Officers responding to the sounds of gunfire and were flagged down by several people at 135 Liberty Street, where they found the victim on the front porch, unconscious and bleeding from several gunshot wounds. The victim was taken to Jersey Shore University Medical Center, Neptune Township, where he was pronounced dead at 5:22 a.m., despite the efforts made to save his life by medical personnel.
Strong pled guilty to first degree Aggravated Manslaughter, Possession of a Weapon for an Unlawful Purpose, and Unlawful Possession of a Weapon, both second degree offenses. During his plea allocution before Monmouth County Superior Court Judge David F. Bauman, Strong admitted he was involved with a larger group of individuals who were engaged in a series of confrontations with other groups in of the area of Liberty Street. He indicated that during one of these confrontations a female relative of his was injured. As a result of his relative being injured, Strong obtained a handgun and fired in the direction of a group of individuals who were standing on the front porch of 135 Liberty Street. Strong then admitted his shots caused the death of Adrian Anderson.
As part of his plea agreement, the State will recommend he be given a 15 year prison term, subject to the provisions of the “No Early Release Act” (NERA) requiring him to serve 85 percent of the sentence imposed before he is eligible for parole. He would also be subject to 5 years of parole supervision upon his release. After consultation and consent of Adrian Anderson’s family, the State determined this plea was in the interest of justice.
Strong is currently being held at the Monmouth County Correctional Institution on $1,450,000.00 cash only bail, as set by Monmouth County Superior Court Judge Richard W. English. He is scheduled for sentencing before Judge Bauman on October 7, 2016.
A September report of Anderson’s death by News12 said that Anderson was shot 5 times outside his aunt’s Liberty St. home and that his father, David Byrd, witness the shooting.
Byrd says his son had been at the house to help his aunt and got into an argument with a group of what Byrd says were gang members.
Byrd says police responded two separate times to break up the fight, but after police left, the shooter returned and killed Anderson.
A September 21 NJ.com report said that Anderson worked at Monmouth Park and quoted his landlord, James Perry, as saying that the shooting occurred after a fist fight earlier in the day.
“He was a nice kid, and he worked hard,” Perry said. “He didn’t deserve what happened to him.”
Perry said Anderson was a quiet man who had recently gotten into a disagreement with another city resident.
“I heard that he and a boy had a dispute, and it led to fisticuffs,” Perry said. “Adrian beat him, but I guess he didn’t let it go, he came back and shot him in the back.”
Strong was charged with Murder, Possession of a Firearm for an Unlawful Purpose, and Unlawful Possession of a Firearm when arrested on November 7, 2013. Had he gone to trial, he faced 30 years in state prison subject to NERA if convicted.