The jury picking process was about to begin on Friday (10/19) when the defense attorney for Hunter Peck approached the Wayne County District Attorney’s Office looking for a plea deal.
On Friday night, December 8, 2017, 911 received a call from a caller stating he had been stabbed. Police responded to an area adjacent to Perkins Park to find a 17 year Zackary Dwello, suffering from seven stab wounds. Dwello died eight hours later.
Intensive investigations by State Police and a Wayne County Grand Jury indictment in March of this year, involving Peck, age 18, of Old Lyons Road in Newark and Vaughn Gray, age 19, of Hope Avenue in Newark led to their arrests. Both teens had been on the streets since the killing, after State Police had narrowed in on the pair weeks after the incident.
Gray pled guilty to Manslaughter in the First Degree and was sentenced to 18 years determinate in state prison.
Sources close to the investigation indicated that Dwello allegedly met with Peck and Gray in the park to sell them a small amount of marijuana, estimated to be in the $30 range. The deal went bad when Peck and Gray attempted to rob Dwello and the stabbings occurred.
Both Peck and Gray fled the scene, leaving Dwello laying on the ground with the seven stab wounds.
Wayne County District Attorney Mike Colarco said that after long discussions with the Dwello family, they agreed to a sentence of 23 years to life and waiving all rights to appeal, meaning Peck will have to serve a minimum of the 23 years in state prison.