NJ murder suspect pleads guilty to armed robberies in New Hanover, Duplin

NJ murder suspect pleads guilty to armed robberies in New Hanover, Duplin
Samir Thomas (Source: NHCSO)

WILMINGTON, NC (WECT) - A man indicted for murder in the 2014 shooting death of a woman in New Jersey during a cockfight was sentenced in New Hanover County on Thursday to numerous charges in connection with three armed robberies.

According to the District Attorney's Office, 25-year-old Samir Thomas entered no contest pleas to three counts of robbery with a dangerous weapon, two counts of possession of a firearm by a felon, second-degree kidnapping and several other offenses.

Thomas was sentenced to 5 to 8 years in prison but prosecutors expect him to be extradited to Essex County, New Jersey to face the 2014 murder indictment.

On Sept. 24, 2015, Thomas brandished a gun and robbed a delivery driver at the back of the Target off New Centre Drive.

Less than two months later, he robbed two men in the parking lot of the Walmart in Wallace. Thomas tried to take one of the victim's trucks, but couldn't leave the scene due to a trailer attached to the vehicle. He then stole the second victim's car.

Detectives were able to track Thomas to an apartment in Wilmington where they located the stolen car. They also found additional evidence inside one of the units linking Thomas to the crimes. Police found Thomas at a bar off Market Street, where he was taken into custody after a brief chase.

According to NJ.com, Thomas and two other men are accused of fatally shooting Maria Cruz, 41 during a cockfight in Newark, NJ in 2014. Police said the men planned to rob all the spectators who had gathered. However, a gun was fired during the robbery killing Cruz who was among the crowd.

Prosecutors say Thomas fired the fatal shot.

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