According to Mercer County Prosecutor Angelo Onofri and Hopewell Township Police Chief James Ross, two teenagers have been charged in the killing of Philip Urban of Manalopan.
Urban was found shot to death on a Mercer County property on December 17.
A 16-year-old male, who lives in Pennington, and a 17-year-old male, who lives in Hopewell, were taken into custody on Dec. 23, according to the Mercer County Prosecutor’s Office.
Each teenager was charged with murder, aggravated murder, robbery and a weapons offence. The two teenagers were initially booked into the Middlesex County Youth Detention Center in North Brunswick pending a detention hearing.
Law enforcement agencies are not naming the teenagers, as they are minors.
According to Mercer County According to the prosecutor’s office, two teenagers allegedly lured 20-year-old Urban to the entrance to the Hopewell Valley Nature Reserve off Harbarton-Woodsville Road in Hopewell Township.
Authorities said the two teenagers intended to steal a quarter of a pound of marijuana from Urban.
When Urban and the teenagers met, the teens allegedly stole marijuana from him and shot him, prosecutors said.
Urban was found in the driver’s seat of a Mercedes-Benz C300. Authorities said he suffered a gunshot wound. He was taken to Capital Health Regional Medical Center in Trenton, where he was pronounced dead.
Two 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 whether the juvenile charges should be dropped from juvenile court to adult court.
The teenagers were arrested following an investigation by the Mercer County Homicide Task Force and the Hopewell Police Department. The inspection was started after police officers arrived at the reserve around 19:00 on December 17.
According to published reports on MercerMe.com, Urban is a 2022 graduate of Pennington High School in Pennington, Mercer County, where he played basketball.
In 2022-2023, Urban was a member of the basketball team at Post University, Waterbury, CT.
Urban is survived by his parents, Eve and Adam; sister Gabby; grandparents Lucina and Janusz Urban, Andrzej Krakavian, Danuta Dembinski; godparents John Milat and Krzysztof Kanja; aunt; Eva Michalska; and his cousins, according to an obituary posted online by Woolley-Boglioli Funeral Home.