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Warrant issued for fourth suspect in Newark slayings

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  • NEW: Warrant issued for 24-year-old Nicaraguan national
  • NEW: Official calls suspect Rodolfo Godinez "principal player" in killings
  • NEW: Funerals held Saturday for all three victims
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NEWARK, New Jersey (CNN) -- An arrest warrant has been issued for a fourth suspect in last weekend's execution-style slayings of three college students, the Newark mayor's office said.

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Rodolfo Godinez, 24, is the fourth suspect wanted in connection with the schoolyard shootings.

Police are hunting for Rodolfo Godinez, 24. Three others have been arrested in connection with the case.

Newark police said Godinez, also known as Rodolfo Gomez, is a Nicaraguan national who lived in Newark's Ivy Hill section.

Newark Police Director Garry McCarthy called Godinez "a principal player" in the slayings and said he would be charged with three counts of murder, felony murder and weapons charges.

Funerals were being held Saturday for Dashon Harvey, 20, Terrance Aeriel, 18, and Iofemi Hightower, 20. Aerial's sister, Natasha, 19, also was shot, but she survived and helped police identify a suspect.

Newark Mayor Cory A. Booker was interrupted by applause as he urged residents to help fight the city's high murder rate, The Associated Press reported. "We need to raise our children," he said at the service for Harvey at Metropolitan Baptist Church.

A 15-year-old boy was arrested Friday, Newark Mayor Cory A. Booker said Friday night.

Earlier Friday, Jose Carranza, 28, pleaded not guilty to murder and other charges. He was being held on $1 million bond. Video Watch a shackled Carranza in court »

Another 15-year-old was arraigned Thursday and pleaded not guilty in a closed hearing. County prosecutor Paula Dow said she wants that suspect tried as an adult.

Carranza and the teen are charged with three counts of murder, four counts of first-degree robbery, one count of attempted murder, various weapons offenses and one count of conspiracy to commit robbery, prosecutors said.

Booker said there was no indication of gang or narcotics activity in connection with the slayings.

Wearing an orange jail jumpsuit, Carranza spoke softly through a translator. He had surrendered Thursday to Booker, who attended the arraignment.

"He knew maybe if he turned himself in to me he would be safer, but my focus was to get him off the streets," Booker said Friday during an appearance on CNN's "American Morning."

Carranza had been using a bogus Social Security number, Essex County Sheriff Armando Fontoura said. Carranza is an undocumented immigrant from Peru, his attorney acknowledged in court.

Carranza had been scheduled to appear in court Monday to answer two previous indictments. One accuses him of sexually assaulting and threatening to kill a 13-year-old, a girlfriend's child. Another charges him with an array of assault and weapons offenses.

McCarthy said his office was "close to piecing the entirety of this event together."

Ballistics evidence, information from the shooting's lone survivor and a fingerprint lifted from a beer bottle at the scene led to the major break in a case that has outraged a city numbed by street violence. Photo See how the killings have sparked the community's outrage »

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"There seems to be no motivation, no provocation," Booker said, calling the crime "evil."

"This was just a disgusting, vicious attack, and it's troubling," Booker said. "What they were attacking [was] not only these amazing children and their families but what the core of Newark is really about." E-mail to a friend E-mail to a friend


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