Acting Essex County Prosecutor Carolyn A. Murray announced that Andrew Burrows, 25, of Newark was sentenced today to 17 years in New Jersey State Prison for the Aug. 20, 2012 killing of Russell Lighten, Jr., 24, of also of Newark.
On March 25, Burrow pled guilty to aggravated manslaughter. Under the terms of a plea agreement, he was sentenced to 17 years by the Honorable Ronald Wigler, Presiding Essex County Criminal Court Judge.
Burrows must serve 85 percent of his 17-year sentence before he will be eligible for parole. After his release from prison he will be subject to five years of probation.
Assistant Prosecutor Allan Nawrocki, who handled the case, said on the day Lighten was killed the victim had gotten into a verbal dispute with Burrows’ female cousin. Things escalated and Lighten apologized but Burrows, apparently still not satisfied, shot Lighten later that night as he was walking home from playing basketball. Lighten was killed in the 400 block of 17th Street.
“We know the sentence will not bring back the victim but we hope it will provide measure of comfort to the Lighten family,” said Assistant Prosecutor Nawrocki. “This case provides a cautionary tale of what happens when someone uses a gun to settle a minor dispute. It can only have a tragic ending.”
Burrows, who was originally charged with murder and weapons offenses, has one prior conviction for theft in 2010. According to the pre-sentence report cited by Judge Wigler today in court, Burrows has 16 prior adult arrests, eight prior disorderly persons offenses and a juvenile record.