Two teenagers, ages 16 and 17, have been charged with murder, aggravated murder, robbery and possession of a weapon in connection with the death of Philip Urban, who was found shot to death on a wildlife preserve on Dec. 17, according to the Mercer County District Attorney. Angela Onafry and Hopewell Township Police Chief James Rosso.
A 16-year-old boy, who lives in Pennington, and a 17-year-old boy, who lives in Hopewell, were taken into custody on Dec. 23, prosecutors said. They are being held at the Middlesex County Youth Detention Center pending a detention hearing.
The names of the two teenagers have not been released because they are minors, the prosecutor’s office said.
Two teenagers allegedly lured Urban, 20, to the entrance to the Hopewell Valley Nature Preserve off Harbarton-Woodsville Road, where they intended to steal a quarter-pound of marijuana from him, prosecutors said.
When Urban met the teenagers, they allegedly stole marijuana from him and then shot him, prosecutors said. Urban was found in the driver’s seat of a Mercedes-Benz C300 with a gunshot wound.
Urban was taken to Capital Health Regional Medical Center in Trenton, where he was pronounced dead, prosecutors said.
The teenagers allegedly participated in the preparation, killing and concealment of Urban’s death, prosecutors said. The case will be reviewed by the Mercer County District Attorney’s Office to determine if they should be removed from juvenile court and tried in adult court.
The teenagers were arrested as a result of a joint investigation by the Mercer County Homicide Task Force and the Hopewell Police Department that began after police responded to the preserve around 7 p.m. on Dec. 17.
According to published reports on MercerMe.com, Urban, who lived in Manalapan, graduated in 2022 from Pennington High School, where he played basketball. He also played basketball at Post University in Connecticut.