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By Victoria St. Martin, The Star-Ledger / Updated: Tuesday, August 30, 2011, 5:01 PM.
Philander Hampton waits for a hearing to begin at the Essex County Courthouse in Newark in this January 2011 file photo. - John O'Boyle / The Star-Ledger.
NEWARK — A 54-year-old man who, along with his cousin, has been charged in the 1978 killing of five Newark boys, pleaded guilty this morning.
Philander Hampton pleaded guilty to five counts of felony murder, according to the Essex County Prosecutor’s Office. As part of his plea agreement, he will testify at the trial of his cousin, Lee Evans, 58.
Hampton confessed to police in November 2008, saying Evans orchestrated the Aug. 20, 1978, killings. The five boys were allegedly lured into an abandoned house in Newark, locked inside then the structure was set on fire. The bodies of Randy Johnson, Alvin Turner and Michael McDowell, all 16, and Melvin Pittman and Ernest Taylor, both 17, were never found.