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Suspect surrenders in Irvington murders

September 13, 2008 5:16:39 PM PDT
The suspect in the slayings of four people found in a burning house in the past week surrendered to police on Saturday.Essex County Prosecutor's Office spokesman Paul Loriquet said Rolando "Rat Man" Terrell turned himself in to Irvington police late Saturday morning.

Terrell is accused of shooting four women in a house on the Irvington-Newark border last Monday, then setting the house on fire to cover up the crime.

He faces murder and weapons charges and will be held at the Essex County Jail on $2 million bail. His arraignment is scheduled for next Wednesday.

Terrell was accompanied by his attorney, Michael Robbins, who said his client will plead not guilty.

"When brought before the court next week, he plans to enter his plea of not guilty, because that is the fact," Robbins said.

Killed in the attack were 40-year-old Candes McLean, who rented the apartment where the killings occurred, and her 18-year-old daughter, Talia.

McLean's stepdaughter, 13-year-old Latrisha Fields-Carruthers, and 18-year-old niece Zakiyyah Jones also were slain.

Investigators have said the killings were drug- and possibly gang-related, and that Terrell knew Candes McLean. They also have said others may have been involved, but have not named any additional suspects.

Candes McLean lived at the Irvington home with Talia McLean and Fields-Carruthers, and Jones lived at a Newark address, Essex County Prosecutor Paula Dow said at a news conference Friday.

A fifth woman, whom police did not identify, survived the attack and fled the home carrying Talia McLean's 14-month-old son. The toddler was unharmed and was placed with relatives.

Neighbors said they heard an argument and gunshots before the fire broke out at about 7:30 a.m. Three people living on the second floor and a man living on the third floor escaped the fire uninjured.

The killings happened in a neighborhood that borders Newark and is less than a mile from where three college-bound friends were slain execution-style in a school playground last year.

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