Pound of Marijuana Caused 5 Newark Teens Murders? Suspects Arrested


Suspects have been arrested for the 1978 murders of 5 Newark teens. The suspects are alleged cousins and have been charged with 5 counts of murder and arson in the 5 missing Newark teens’ 1978 cold case. Philander Hampton 53 and Lee Anthony Evans 56 are alleged to have killed the boys. A third alleged suspect was Maurice Woody-Olds who died in 2008.

Thinking that they were going to make a little extra money helping a local carpenter out, 4 teens from Newark and 1 from East Orange, were happy to answer a call from Lee Anthony Evans for help. The boys had worked earlier in the day with him, unloading boxes. They raced off later in the day to finish the job Lee Anthony Evans had wanted them for. Allegedly, the last time anyone saw any of the 5 teens was August 20th, 1978. Each of the last sitings involved the 5 teens being in Lee Anthony Evans pick up truck.

None of the boys had been in trouble and all were good kids and weren’t likely to be runaways. Leaving the community and families at a total loss as to where the teens were. Not a trace of any of the 5 boys was found back in 1978 or in the years following. A complete disappearance of the 5 teen boys. The case went cold.

Marijuana Caused 5 Newark Teens Murders

In 2008, the cold case of the Newark teens was reopened. Why? According to Acting Essex County Prosecutor Robert Laurino, it was over the theft of 1 pound of marijuana. Supposedly the teens had stolen a pound of marijuana from one of the men. The 5 boys were allegedly rounded up and one by one were taken to an empty house at gun point. They were tied and then the house was set on fire. No one put the house fire and the 5 missing boys together. The boys perished by fire while bound.


Randy Johnson-16
Melvin Pittman-17
Ernest Taylor-17
Alvin Turner-16
Mitchell McDowell-16


Earnest Taylor’s brother said he heard a confession by Lee Anthony Evans in 2008. He said Evans approached him and wanted to talk about the boys disappearance. Taylor said he would not listen to him unless there was someone else around to hear. A week later the men were joined by a detective in the house were Earnest Taylor once lived. Lee Anthony Evans said he was a born again Christian and had to tell the truth about the missing boys. They were murdered.

Arraignment is set for Wednesday.

5 Newark teens were murdered. Bound and burned. For what? Allegedly for a pound of marijuana.