Friend charged in NJ teen's death

November 17, 2009 6:48:14 AM PST
A 15-year-old boy is dead, and a friend is facing charges, after an assault over the weekend.

Police say the victim, Laron Brown, was hanging out with the suspect, Lavane Gadsen, 18, on Saturday night in Pemberton Township.

The assault happened in a parking lot on Broadway Boulevard around 6:00 p.m.

Police say the teens were hanging out with a group of friends when they got into a shouting match with another group. Police say Gadsen and the others decided to find and confront that other group, but Brown chose to stay behind.

When Gadsen and the others returned, police say Gadsen was upset at Brown for not going with them and punched him repeatedly in the chest.

Emergency workers arrived and tried, unsuccessfully, to revive Brown. He was pronounced dead on arrival at Virtua Memorial Hospital in Mount Holly.

An autopsy determined that Brown died as a result of heart failure caused by blunt force trauma to the chest.

Gadsen was charged early Sunday morning with reckless manslaughter. Bail was set at $150,000 with no 10 percent option.

Pemberton Township High School issued the following statement regarding the incident:

    The Pemberton Township Schools family is deeply saddened by the passing of one of our high school students. We offer our sincere condolences to the family and have provided counseling services to those students and faculty who were deeply impacted by his sudden death.

    The students and faculty at Pemberton Township High School extend our sympathies and offer assistance to Laron's family. We will continue to provide counseling services through this difficult time.

    Sincerely,

    Richard Nolan Principal, PTHS


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