TRENTON, NJ – A joint investigation conducted by the Mercer County Homicide Task Force and the Mercer County Prosecutor’s Special Investigations Unit concluded this week with the arrest of two Trenton men for the October 5 murder of Derek Colley, Mercer County Prosecutor Angelo J. Onofri announced today.
Joseph Kaite, 19, and Tabika Hale, 25, both of Trenton, are each charged with one count of first-degree murder, one count of second-degree possession of a weapon for an unlawful purpose, one count of second-degree unlawful possession of a weapon and one count of first-degree conspiracy. Kaite was arrested Wednesday evening in Trenton. Officers observed him involved in a drug transaction in the area of New York and North Olden avenues and when they attempted to take him into custody, he tried to flee and rammed a police vehicle. No injuries were reported and Kaite was then taken into custody without further incident. Hale was arrested Thursday evening in Trenton by the U.S. Marshals NY/NJ Regional Fugitive Task Force. The prosecutor’s office is filing motions to detain both defendants.
At approximately 3:40 p.m. on October 5, 2020, the Trenton police received a call for a male shot inside a deli market in the 200 block of Spring Street. Upon arrival, police found Derek Colley, 26, bleeding from multiple gunshots wounds. He was pronounced dead at the scene.
Officers located numerous .40 and .45 shell casings scattered inside the deli market, primarily in the rear of the store.
MCHTF detectives reviewed video surveillance footage from the area and observed a silver Hyundai Genesis circle the area prior to the shooting and immediately following the shooting of Colley. Prior to the murder, the silver Hyundai Genesis traveled down Spring Street before it turned left onto White Street.
Two black males are seen exiting the vehicle, both wearing hoodies over their heads and both appearing to be wearing gloves. A third male remained in the driver’s seat of the vehicle. The two males are observed entering the store, both with handguns in their hands, and a store clerk and customer are observed running out of the store toward Prospect Street. Colley is seen standing in the rear left side of the store and began to walk to the right side. He looked down the aisle closest to him and observed one of the gunmen walking down the aisle with the gun raised. Colley started to run down the second aisle, but was unable to due to the second gunmen who began to fire his handgun at Colley. Colley then ran to the rear of the store where he fell and was shot multiple times. Both gunmen ran from the store and go into the Hyundai Genesis, which flees the scene.
A lookup of the silver Hyundai Genesis’ registration revealed the vehicle was reported stolen out of Trenton between October 1 and October 2. Further investigation revealed that Kaite and Hale were the gunmen.
Following Kaite’s arrest, search warrants were executed at his residence on Rossell Avenue and at an apartment on Beakes Street. During the search of Kaite’s residence, an AR-15 style rifle with an extended magazine, various ammunition, various firearm magazines and heroin were located. A black Cadillac that was also used in connection with the homicide was recovered and is impounded pending a search warrant.
Prosecutor Onofri thanked the Mercer County Homicide Task Force, his SIU, the Mercer County Tactical Response Team, Trenton Police SWAT and the U.S. Marshals Service for their assistance with the investigation and arrests.
The shooting remains under investigation. Anyone with information is asked to call the Homicide Task Force at (609) 989-6406. Information can also be emailed to email@example.com.
Despite having been charged, every defendant is presumed innocent until found guilty beyond a reasonable doubt in a court of law.