Vincent Williams admitted killing a 9-year-old Camden boy to investigators last night, a prosecutor said in court today. He said 'I murdered him
' and that's exactly what happened here,
" said Assistant Camden County Prosecutor Mary Alison Albright. Williams, also on probation for 2008 assault charges against the same child
, is charged with the murder of Jamarr Cruz. His bail remains at $1 million.
Authorities contend a man beat and kicked a 9-year-old boy in their East Camden home Monday morning, then repeatedly ignored the child's complaints about pain
By the time the victim, 9-year-old Jamarr Cruz, got medical care on Tuesday morning, it was too late. Jamarr, a fourth-grader at the city's Molina School, died at a city hospital shortly after 7 a.m. Tuesday -- 24 hours after being assaulted in his bedroom at the Ablett Village public-housing complex. His alleged assailant, 26-year-old Vincent Williams, was captured about 9:45 a.m. Tuesday, after a high-speed chase
that led from Magnolia to Bordentown, authorities said.
Williams, an ex-convict and the boyfriend of Jamarr's mother
, was taken to Camden County Jail on a murder charge. "You wonder why things happen like this
," said Jamarr's grieving grandmother, Monica McGree of North Camden. "Only God knows
"One time he came over, and he was scared
," added Robert McGee Sr., the boy's grandfather and a North Camden activist. "He didn't want to go home
A colorful memorial of balloons, flowers and stuffed animals rose outside Jamarr's home at Ablett Village, an aging complex of brick rowhomes at State Street and River Road. "I came to give him a teddy bear and flowers, to show that I care
," said Sasha Roldan, 15, a neighbor. "He used to play football. He used to give you hugs
At a nearby community center, children from the complex prayed and cried at their after-school program, said Kimberly Washington, on-site coordinator for the city's Housing Authority. "We're trying to comfort them
," she said.
"We talked about domestic violence
," said Tracey Bestury, an Ablett Village resident who attended the session. "If it's going on in your home, let someone know
Children at Ablett Village said they knew the slain youth as "Jamal," a name that appeared in almost every message left on two sheets outside the boy's home. Police records identified him as "Jamar." Family members resolved the confusion by citing a letter from the Molina School to parents and guardians.
"Jamarr was a friendly and quiet young man
," said the note. "He was always respectful
The boy's mother was not home
when the assault occurred Monday, said Jason Laughlin, a spokesman for the Camden County Prosecutor's Office. The mother, whose name was not disclosed, accompanied the boy in an ambulance to Cooper University Hospital on Tuesday, Laughlin said.
An autopsy determined Jamarr died from "blunt trauma to the torso
," according to the prosecutor's office. Investigators from the prosecutor's office and Camden police alerted area law officers to look out for Williams about 8:30 a.m. A Magnolia policeman spotted Williams at the White Horse Pike and Warwick Road about 9:25 a.m., then chased him along northbound Interstate 295 onto Route 130 in the Bordentown area.
Williams was arrested without incident after his engine blew out about 9:45 a.m., officials said. He has two convictions for drug offenses, according to the state Department of Corrections. He was imprisoned for about five months in 2004.