A NEW Jersey man was convicted Friday of three murders and three attempted murders that occurred in a 2016 home invasion where he bound and tortured six people with kitchen knives.
Jeremy Arrington, 31, was found guilty of stabbing two children to death and fatally shooting a young woman, as well as torturing the children's mother and two other children by stabbing them, according to Essex County authorities.
Arrington was apparently motivated by anger toward one of the victims due to a Facebook post, Acting Essex County Prosecutor Theodore N. Stephens II announced Saturday.
Arrington fatally stabbed Ariel Little Whitehurst, 7, and her brother, Al-Jahon Whitehurst, 11, before shooting and killing Syasia McBurroughs, a 23-year-old college student who had been visiting the family, Stephens said.
One afternoon in November 2016, Arrington broke into the Whitehurst family home in Newark with a loaded firearm because one of the victims had reposted a police alert about him on Facebook.
The alert warned the community to be on the lookout for Arrington as a suspect in a previous shooting and sexual assault. Officials said he was already out on bail for a third and separate incident of assault.
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Arrington terrorized the nine people, four adults and five children, in the house by tying them up and torturing them with kitchen knives by stabbing them repeatedly, officials said.
Emergency medical personnel were able to save three of the victims, but McBurroughs was pronounced dead at the scene after being shot to death and two children later died from their injuries at a nearby hospital.
Officials reported that the surviving victims of the stabbings included Ariel and Al-Jahon's 29-year-old mother and a 13-year-old male and female, who are twins.
The police were able to respond to the scene before more lives were lost thanks to a young girl with autism who escaped Arrington and called for help from a closet with her phone, according to Deputy Chief Assistant Prosecutor Justin Edwab.
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Arrington fled the scene when authorities arrived but was found barricaded in another Newark residence later that night, according to Stephens.
Authorities arrested him after finding that though he claimed he had a hostage, he was alone.
After a 10-day trial, Arrington was convicted Friday on 28 counts, including three counts of murder, three counts of attempted murder, burglary, criminal restraint, unlawful possession of a handgun as well as a knife, and possession of a handgun and a knife for an unlawful purpose.
"We are forever grateful to the courageous survivors and witnesses who testified as well as the investigative personnel who helped bring this defendant to justice," Edwab said.
Ariel was in the second grade and Al-Jahon was in the fifth grade, according to the family's GoFundMe page.
Syasia McBurroughs was a student at New Jersey City University who hoped to become a teacher.
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Arrington is scheduled to be sentenced on April 8. He faces multiple life sentences in prison.
"Hopefully this verdict will bring some form of justice to all of the families and friends affected by this defendant's horrific actions," Edwab said.
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