The three-judge panel also upheld the sentence of life without parole that was given to 53-year-old Raymond Troxell of South Brunswick.
Troxell had argued that the trial judge should not have admitted his videotaped statement into evidence during his 2010 trial. He also claimed the judge erred in his jury instructions.
But The Star-Ledger reports the appellate court rejected those arguments in a unanimous ruling issued this week.
Troxell was convicted in the shooting death of Vincent Russo. The 46-year-old Staten Island man was shot once in the head in the office of the Mezzaluna Deli in North Brunswick in December 2008, about six months after it opened.
Middlesex County prosecutors said Troxell told friends he wanted Russo dead because he was taking money out of their business. They say he paid $3,000 for the killing.
Troxell claims he was joking about having Russo killed and that the gunman was wrong to take him seriously. He was convicted of soliciting the murder as an accomplice and paying for it to happen.
The shooter, 48-year-old Frank Marsh of Macungie, Pa., was convicted in 2011 on murder and weapons charges. He's now serving a life sentence with no chance for parole.