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August 22, 2015

Repeat offender gets 124-year jail term, must serve 100 years

William Cooper Jr. killed a NJ bakery store owner during a botched robbery

Repeat offender William Cooper Jr., 37, was sentenced to a 124 year prison term Friday for murdering a baker during a botched robbery in Woodlynne, New Jersey. He must serve 100 years before parole is considered.

The shooting that killed 29-year-old Oscar Hernandez in his store, Alex's Bakery, happened in October of 2009.

The crime happened on the 1600 block of Ferry Avenue while the victim’s widow and several customers were in the store.

Cooper was found guilty in November 2014.

Cooper was eligible for the extended sentence because of his career as a criminal.

Cooper and one of his three codefendants, Rashawn Carter, 29, of Philadelphia, were convicted at trial of one count each of felony murder and conspiracy to commit armed robbery.

They also were found guilty of five counts each of armed robbery and criminal restraint.

Cooper was also found guilty on a murder charge and three weapons offenses for his role as the shooter.

Additionally, Carter was convicted of conspiring to possess a weapon.

A jury had previously found an accomplice, Latasha Baker, 35, of Woodlynne, guilty on counts of felony murder, conspiracy and robbery.

She was found guilty of acting as a lookout during the robbery. Baker posed as a customer at the bakery multiple times the day of the killing.

She was sentenced in June 2014 to 45 years in prison.

Baker provided the others with information about who was in the bakery prior to the robbery attempt, then played the part of a victim when the armed men entered the business.

Cooper and two others tried to open the register at the bakery before they shot Hernandez.

They were never able to open the register and fled empty handed.

After the robbery, Baker told investigators the robbers had stolen her cell phone.

But the phone was found at her home. A search of the phone records led investigators to the other three defendants.

Surveillance footage, eyewitness accounts and other evidence helped lead to the conviction of all the defendants.

Another codefendant, Maurice Carter, 33, of Philadelphia, pleaded guilty in September 2014 to conspiracy to commit armed robbery. He was sentenced in December 2014 to 10 years in state prison.

Rashawn Carter, another conspirator, is scheduled to be sentenced on September 18.