Pleasantville man charged in killing of Atlantic City grandmother

A Pleasantville man is in jail on charges of murder and weapons possession in the brutal killing of an Atlantic City woman.
Mark Huff, 54, was arrested Monday in the killing of Vernell Vance.
Vance was found bludgeoned behind 21 S. Tennessee Ave., just a block from a planned business revitalization.
Huff maintains his innocent, public defender Scott Sherwood said Tuesday, after Huff’s first appearance via video from the Atlantic County Justice Facility.
The man also had a pending assault on a police officer charge, but Sherwood did not have the details.
New Jersey Transit Police were instrumental in identifying Huff as the suspect in the homicide, Atlantic County Prosecutor Damon Tyner said.
Vance’s son Kwami Vance said he didn’t know Huff and was not sure how the man knew his mother.
“He’s probably somebody she befriended,” Vance said. “I told her everybody is not your friend.”
But the mom to three and grandmother to two refused to see the bad in people, her son said.

An Atlantic City woman was found dead in an apparent homicide, Atlantic County Prosecutor Damon Tyner announced. Vernell Vance, 56, was found with significant blunt-force trauma to her head at about 11:30 p.m. Saturday behind 21 S. Tennessee Ave. An autopsy is tentatively scheduled for Monday, Tyn


Born on Valentine’s Day 1962, she loved everyone.
“She helped anybody she could help,” Kwami Vance said.  “If you needed to eat, she would feed you. If someone needed a place to stay, she would let them stay until they got on their feet.”
She loved to dance and since, and was an avid poet and writer, her son said.
Huff will have a detention hearing next Tuesday, to determine whether he will stay jailed until his trial.
His public safety assessment puts him at a four out of six for risk of failure to appear and a six out of six for likelihood of criminality.