2 plead guilty in shooting death of 10-year-old NJ boy

ASBURY PARK, N.J. — Two defendants have pleaded guilty in a New Jersey shooting that left a 10-year-old boy dead and his mother wounded.

Eighteen-year-old Karon Council and 17-year-old Jah-Del Birch, both of Neptune Township, were charged with murder in the Feb. 21 slaying of Yovanni Banos-Merino. Both pleaded guilty Monday to first-degree aggravated manslaughter.

Monmouth County prosecutors will recommend that Council, who also pleaded to a weapons charge, be sentenced to 25 years and Birch to 10 years, with both serving 85 percent of their sentences before being eligible for parole.

Authorities said Birch was an accomplice to Council, who had been involved in an altercation with a man who lived at the home. When Council didn’t find him there, prosecutors said, he opened fire killing the child and wounding his 38-year-old mother.