Two Men Charged with Killing N.J. Grandmother During Birthday Celebration

Two siblings were arrested on charges of murdering a Newark grandmother, who was gunned down on her front porch as she celebrated her birthday last year.

via: People

Debra Derrick was killed more than a year ago on March 11, 2021, according to a statement from the Essex County Prosecutor’s Office.

She was fatally shot at around 8 p.m. on the night of her birthday.

Derrick was killed while standing on her front porch in Newark, N.J., where she was releasing balloons in honor of her late twin sister.

The twin sister had died seven years earlier, the statement says.

Derrick worked as a certified nursing assistant at Newark Beth Israel Medical Center.

Investigators identified the alleged shooters as Jonathan Ritchie, 21, and his brother Josiah Ritchie, 19.

In addition to murder, the Newark men are charged with conspiracy to commit murder and weapons-related offenses.

The two had previously lived in Atlanta.

Derrick was not the intended target of the shooting, officials say.

It was not immediately clear if the two defendants had attorneys who could comment on their behalf.

They remain in custody, but have not entered pleas to the charges.

Derrick’s sister, Ramona Derrick, spoke to NJ Advance Media last year, and said her sister “always had an open heart.”

Of the shooting, she told the site: “She was caught in the crossfire. She was making sure that everybody was safe. She was pushing the two granddaughters in the door.”

Authorities asked for help from the public to solve the crime and the Essex County Sheriff’s Crime Stoppers announced a $25,000 reward for information leading to any arrests. No reward has been paid in the case, according to the prosecutor’s spokeswoman.

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