Pleasantville man pleads guilty in Christmas Eve shooting death of Somers Point man

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MAYS LANDING - A Pleasantville man pleaded guilty to aggravated manslaughter on Tuesday, Jan. 7 in connection with the Christmas Eve 2011 shooting death of a Somers Point man.

Lenny R. Ross Jr, 31, of Pleasantville had been charged in the shooting death of Steven Gurss Jr., 28, of Somers Point, acting Atlantic County Prosecutor Jim McClain said.

Ross’s trial was scheduled to start on Tuesday, McClain said. However, Ross accepted a plea agreement before opening statements began.

In pleading guilty, Ross admitted to shooting Gurss following an altercation between the pair, McClain said.

In accordance with the plea agreement, Ross will be sentenced at the discretion of the court. He could be sentenced up to 30 years in state prison for the aggravated manslaughter charge. Ross must serve 85-percent of any sentence imposed before becoming eligible for parole.

Ross could have faced up to a life sentence if he was convicted of murder at trial, according to Chief Assistant Prosecutor Janet Gravitz.

On Dec. 24, 2011, Gurss was discovered shot in the head inside a vehicle parked outside of the Marina Del Ray Apartments on Atlantic Avenue in Pleasantville.

Medical crews transported Gurss to AtlantiCare Regional Medical Center, City Campus, where he died on Christmas.

Ross was charged with murder and weapons offenses following an investigation by the Atlantic County Prosecutor’s Office Major Crimes Unit and the Pleasantville Police Department.

Atlantic County Prosecutor’s Office Major Crimes Unit, the Atlantic City Police Department Special Investigations Unit and the Atlantic City Task Force personnel arrested Ross July 13, 2012 in Atlantic City.

Teonka Williams, 28, of Pleasantville was charged with third-degree providing false information for attempting to hinder Ross’s apprehension. She also pled guilty.

Ross and Williams will be sentenced by Superior Court Judge Michael A. Donio on Feb. 7.

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