Youth Convicted of Strangling Friend While Saying Prayer

Reuters

A jury convicted a former altar boy of murder Wednesday for strangling a friend with an electrical cord and shoelaces in his own car as they recited the "Hail Mary" prayer together.

James Wanger, now 19, was found guilty in New Jersey Superior Court in the slaying of Robert Solimine Jr., 17, on Feb. 16, 1992.

The main witnesses against Wanger were three unidentified friends who have all pleaded guilty to killing Solimine, who was described during the trial as a "snitch." One said that Solimine had told on him for drinking.

They said the plot was concocted in secret meetings with the group's leader, Frank Castaldo, 18, who will be tried separately.

They testified that Wanger had fashioned a garrote from electrical cord and shoelaces he had purchased just a few hours earlier.

One youth said Wanger cheered after he strangled his former friend from behind.

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