Two men sentenced in 2010 murder of Egg Harbor City woman

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HAMILTON TOWNSHIP – Two Atlantic County men were sentenced today (Thursday, Aug. 29) for their roles in the 2010 murder of an Egg Harbor City mother of two, Atlantic County Prosecutor Jim McClain said.

Rafael J, Olmo, 31, of the 400 block of Philadelphia Avenue, Egg Harbor City, was sentenced to life in prison plus 10 years, and Mario J. Adams, 32, of the 1100 block of Applefield Loop, Hammonton, received 29 years in prison for the murder of Deanna Downs, 29.

Downs was found shot dead behind her residence at Harbor City Apartments in October 2010.

Shortly after midnight on Oct. 16, 2010, Egg Harbor City police and the Prosecutor’s Office Major Crimes Unit responded to a report that a someone had discovered a body behind apartment buildings J and K of the complex. Police found Downs dead of a gunshot wound to the head.

A six-month investigation by the Atlantic County Prosecutor’s Office and the Egg Harbor City Police Department resulted in charges against Olmo, Adams, and Dontay Matthews, now 24, of the 4800 block of Reading Avenue, Elwood, for their parts in the murder.

The state alleged that Olmo paid Adams to kill Downs, and had Matthews watch Downs and contact Adams when she was alone.

The state further alleged that Olmo arranged Downs’ murder because she was a witness to a 2009 shooting for which Olmo had been indicted. That case is pending.

Under the terms of a plea agreement, Matthews pleaded guilty to conspiracy to commit murder and was sentenced on May 30, 2014 to 10 years in state prison. Matthews must serve 85 percent of the sentence – 8½ years – before becoming eligible for parole.

The charges against Olmo and Adams went to trial.

On March 17, 2014, an Atlantic County jury found Olmo guilty on all criminal counts: murder, conspiracy to commit murder, procurement of murder, murder for the purpose of escaping punishment for another offense, two counts of witness tampering employing force or threat of force, and one count of conspiracy to commit witness tampering.

Adams was found guilty of conspiracy to commit murder, two counts of witness tampering, employing force or threat of force, and conspiracy to commit witness tampering.

Atlantic County Superior Court Judge Kyran Connor sentenced Olmo to life in prison without the possibility of parole, plus 10 years for the murder and related charges.

He sentenced Adams to 15 years for conspiracy to commit murder. Under the terms of the No Early Release Act, Adams will serve 85 percent of the sentence – 12 years and nine months – before becoming eligible for parole. In addition, Adams received two seven-year terms of imprisonment with 3½ and three years, respectively, before parole eligibility for the witness tampering charges.

In levying the sentences, Connor stated, “This case involved the execution of an innocent victim.”

Chief Assistant Prosecutor John Maher represented the state in the matter.

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