Men get 32 years in shooting that wounded ACPD officer
Two Cumberland County men were sentenced to 32 years in prison Monday, in an armed robbery that led to the shooting of an Atlantic City police officer in 2016.
Officer Josh Vadell was shot in the head as he got out of his police car when he and his partner came upon an armed robbery in progress Sept. 3, 2016. Officer Thomas McCabe returned fire, killing shooter Jerome Damon.
Martel Chisolm and Demetris Cross were convicted in the armed robbery of three teens and attempted murder of both officers, although the jurors found the men weren’t armed that night.
“Your sentence will be measured in years and months,” Vadell, whose injury forced him to retire, told the men before they were sentenced. “It will pale in comparison to my sentence…. Unfortunately, I was given a life sentence. A life sentence of suffering and struggling through every day.
READ VADELL’S FULL LETTER HERE
Chisolm, 31, and Cross, 30, will be about 56 and 55, respectively, before they are eligible for parole.
Each said they felt for the officer, but continued to maintain their innocence. They have insisted they didn’t know Damon had a gun or planned to rob the three teens.
While the officers interrupted the attack on the three teens, there was a successful robbery that night, Vadell told them.
“You robbed me of my life,” he told them. “You robbed my kids of their daddy. You robbed my wife of her husband. You robbed my mother and sister of their son and brother.”
Laura Vadell said that while she is grateful her husband survived, she lost a lot of him that night.
“It’s like he was made up of a million little pieces and I only got a handful back of what was truly him,” she said as she sat next to her husband at the prosecution table.
She spoke of getting the knock on the door in the middle of the night “saying my husband may not survive.”
She was pregnant with their third daughter at the time. An ambulance sent to get her in case the stress endangered the baby.
After the sentence, the pair said they were satisfied with the verdict.
“I feel like it’s a good amount of time for them to reflect,” Laura Vadell said. “We didn’t want them to go away forever. We both believe that people can change.”
McCabe, now a detective in the department, was in court but could not comment per department protocol.
The entire Vadell family was recently a big part of McCabe’s wedding to Adriana Barbarano, who is expecting the couple’s first child.
Before the sentencing, Superior Court Judge John Rauh found the men not guilty of possession of a weapon by a convicted person. That charge is usually decided by the judge. In this case, because the jury found the men were not guilty of weapons possession, Rauh followed that determination.
The defense also argued unsuccessfully for a new trial. The case is being appealed.