Burlington County Prosecutor Scott Coffina announced that two men were indicted today for the fatal shooting of two people at a party in Edgewater Park earlier this year.
A grand jury charged David Armstrong, 34, of Willingboro, (left) and Ronny Paden, 27, of Delran, with Murder (First Degree) Conspiracy to Commit Murder (First Degree), Possession of a Weapon for an Unlawful Purpose (Second Degree) and Unlawful Possession of a Weapon (Second Degree). Paden was indicted on an additional charge of Certain Persons Not to Possess Weapons (Second Degree).
The indictment was returned today and signed by Prosecutor Coffina. An arraignment will be scheduled soon in Superior Court. Paden was arrested in May and Armstrong surrendered himself last month. Both defendants have been jailed since being taken into custody.
The investigation began after police were called to a home in the 200 block of Dogwood Road just before 1 a.m. on January 24 and discovered the bodies of James Gist III, 29, of Westampton, and Marcus Thompson, 29, of Willingboro.
Several people had gathered at the house to celebrate a birthday. Gist was shot while inside the driver’s seat of a parked vehicle, while Thompson was struck inside the residence. Both men were pronounced dead at the scene. No other attendees were hit by gunfire. The investigation revealed that neither victim was the intended target.
The homicide investigation was conducted by detectives from the BCPO and the Edgewater Park Township Police Department, with assistance from the Delran Township Police Department, New Jersey State Police, and the Willingboro Township Police Department. Paden was apprehended by the U.S. Marshals Service – New York/New Jersey Regional Fugitive Task Force, which includes the Burlington County Sheriff’s Department.
The lead investigators were BCPO Detective Erica Ridge and EPTPD Detective Charles Ryder Jr. Armstrong and Paden are being prosecuted by Assistant Prosecutor Bob Van Gilst, supervisor of the BCPO Major Crimes Unit – Violent Crimes Section.
An indictment is an accusation. Defendants are presumed innocent unless or until proven guilty.