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4 Plead Not Guilty In Short Hills Mall Carjack Killing

NEWARK, N.J. (CBSNewYork) -- Four men pleaded not guilty Wednesday to killing a Hoboken attorney in a carjacking last year.

The defendants were arraigned separately in an Essex County courtroom, CBS 2's Dave Carlin reported. They were indicted last month.

Prosecutors say the men fatally shot 30-year-old Dustin Friedland in front of his wife during the Dec. 15 carjacking at The Mall at Short Hills.

4 Plead Not Guilty In Short Hills Mall Carjack Killing

The defendants are Hanif Thompson, 29; Basim Henry, 33; Karif Ford, 32; and Kevin Roberts, 35.

CBS 2 was there exclusively when the Homicide Task Force unit moved in to arrest Thompson.

Charges against each of the defendants include murder, felony murder, carjacking, conspiracy and weapons offenses.

Ralph Amirata, director of homicide at the Essex County Prosecutor's Office, would not say who authorities believe pulled the trigger, WCBS 880's Levon Putney reported.

"All four right now considered equally culpable and are all facing the same sentences and the same charges," Amirata said.

The men face life in prison without parole if convicted.

Friedland and his wife, Jamie, were leaving the shopping center when they were confronted by two armed men. Prosecutors said the couple was targeted for their 2012 Range Rover.

"The four were working together, and the four were targeting that kind of vehicle," Amirata said.

Jamie Friedland was unharmed, but her husband was shot in the head.

Dustin Friedland
Dustin Friedland (credit: CBS 2)

On the 911 calls, Jamie Friedland's panic is evident.

"Yes, it's an emergency!" she says in one call. "I'm at the Shorts Hill Mall parking lot, and my husband has been shot! They called an ambulance a half an hour ago! Where is he?"

Those tapes revealed it may have been as long as 30 minutes for an ambulance to reach Friedland on the upper level of the mall's parking lot. The ambulance was unable to fit under the parking deck's ceiling, forcing emergency workers to roll the stretcher up the ramp.

Jamie Friedland, who was not in the courtroom Wednesday, is pursuing a civil wrongful-death lawsuit against the mall's owners, security contractors and the Millburn-Short Hills Volunteer First Aid Squad.

Bail for the four defendants was set at $2 million each.

The defendants are due back in court Dec. 9.

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