A Newark man, arrested last week, pleaded not guilty to all charges when he appeared in court on Monday. Joshua E. Higgins, 19, was charged with shooting and killing a 63-year-old Jersey City man who came to the aid of his wife Sunday morning, April 6.

At the time of the shooting, George and Margaret Smith had just returned home from the nearby Moose Lodge, where Smith was a member. Two men grabbed Margret Smith’s purse. George Smith tried to get it back and was killed.

Neighbors say their street is quiet, but that night, they were awakened by gunfire and screaming. A neighbor rushed to administer CPRin a desperate attempt to save Smith before he was rushed to Jersey City Medical Center. According to the Hudson County prosecutor’s office, Smith died at 12:55 a.m. Charges against Higgins include felony murder, robbery and weapons offenses related to a firearm. 

Donte Gaskin, 19, of Irvington was also arrested in Newark and was charged with receiving stolen property. Authorities say he was found with the phone taken during the robbery. 

The Hudson County prosecutor’s homicide unit continues to investigate the shooting. Anyone with information is asked to call the unit at 201-914-1345 or email hcpotips@hcpo.org.