Indictments returned against two defendants in Elizabeth felony murder; robbery

ELIZABETH — A Union County grand jury has returned indictments against the two men charged with killing a Brooklyn resident last fall after an attempt to rob him went awry, acting Union County Prosecutor Grace Park announced.

Ali Garner, 28, and Keon Lewis, 30, both of Elizabeth, were indicted Tuesday on charges of first-degree felony murder, first-degree robbery, and two second-degree weapons offenses in connection with the death of 41-year-old Mamuka Chamiashvili.

It was approximately 10:15 p.m. on Tuesday, Sept. 16, 2014, when police were called to the area of Jacques and East Jersey streets in Elizabeth to find Chamiashvili, who was pronounced dead at the scene.

An intensive joint investigation by the Union County Homicide Task Force and the Elizabeth Police Department revealed that the victim was in the area responding to an online posting on the website craigslist advertising a Mercedes-Benz SUV for sale in the city, according to Union County Assistant Prosecutor Bruce Holmes, who is prosecuting the case.

Upon the conclusion of a test drive of the vehicle, men later identified as Garner and Lewis approached and gunshots rang out, Holmes said.

Lewis was charged in October 2014 following a week-long effort by the Prosecutor’s Office, the Elizabeth Police Department, and the Union County Sheriff’s Office to locate and arrest him.

Garner was arrested by members of the Union County Homicide Task Force the week before. Bail for Lewis and Garner was set at $2 million apiece by state Superior Court Judge Regina Caulfield and state Superior Court Judge Joseph Donohue, respectively.

Convictions on felony murder charges can carry sentences of 30 years to life in state prison.

These criminal charges are mere accusations. Each defendant is presumed innocent until proven guilty in a court of law.