TRENTON – Attorney General Matthew J. Platkin today announced a 22-year prison sentence for a Cumberland County man convicted of first-degree manslaughter for firing a handgun at a vehicle occupied by three young men, killing one of them.
Terrell Savage, 37 of Millville was sentenced to prison for the fatal shooting of 19-year-old Maurice “Reese” Lewis of Millville in 2018. Under the sentence handed down by Superior Court Judge George H. Gangloff, Jr. in Cumberland County today, Savage must serve 85% of his sentence – more than 18 years – without the possibility of parole. The sentence will run consecutively to a 15-year sentence Savage has been serving since June 11, 2018, for an unrelated firearms offense.
“No one deserves to live in a community where you can be shot to death while driving down the street, as this innocent victim was,” said Attorney General Platkin. “The lengthy prison sentence we obtained in this case demonstrates our commitment to protecting our residents from the threat of gun violence and sends a clear message that this kind of lawless conduct will not be tolerated.”
“This case is the result of the victim simply being in the wrong place at the wrong time and underscores the importance of keeping guns out of the hands of individuals who should not have them,” said Director Pearl Minato of the Division of Criminal Justice. “We will continue to vigorously prosecute gun crimes to deter reckless violence that endangers the public and destroys families.”
Savage was charged in Lewis’ death as a result of an investigation by the Division of Criminal Justice, Cumberland County Prosecutor’s Office, Millville Police Department, and New Jersey State Police.
On May 18, 2018, at approximately 11:11 p.m., Millville police responded to the area of Dock and Broad Streets on reports that shots were fired and someone had been shot. Once on scene, they found Lewis in the driver’s seat of an SUV with a gunshot wound to the back of his head. Lewis was transported to Cooper University Hospital in Camden, where he died from his injuries on May 20, 2018.
Savage was arrested on May 22, 2018. The investigation revealed that on May 18, 2018, Lewis was driving a Chevrolet Suburban with one male passenger in the front seat and a second male passenger in the back seat, when he stopped at a stop sign at the intersection of Dock and Broad Streets at approximately 11:05 p.m. Savage had been walking on Dock Street and was standing on the driver’s side of the SUV. As Lewis began to drive away, Savage allegedly fired 10 rounds from a 9mm pistol equipped with a 14-round magazine. Eight rounds struck the SUV, including the round that killed Lewis. The passengers were not hit. The SUV then crashed into a parked car. The investigation determined that the attack was unprovoked.
Savage was indicted on one count of first-degree murder and two counts of first-degree attempted murder related to the two other occupants of the vehicle, who were not hit by the gunfire. He was also indicted on charges of unlawful possession of a weapon (1st and 2nd degree counts), possession of a weapon for an unlawful purpose (2nd degree), possession of a weapon as a convicted felon (2nd degree), hindering apprehension or prosecution (3rd degree), and tampering with physical evidence (4th degree).
Savage pleaded guilty to first-degree manslaughter in a hearing before Judge Gangloff on February 21, 2023. In securing a plea agreement that guaranteed Savage a state prison term with a period of parole ineligibility of more than 18 years, the State agreed to dismiss the remaining charges against him.
Deputy Attorneys General Cassandra Montalto and Karen Braciszewski handled the sentencing for the Division of Criminal Justice Gangs & Organized Crime Bureau.
Defense Attorney: Michael Ortiz, Esq.