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Westville Man Pleads Guilty to 2012 Murder at Jimmy Buffet Concert

Matthew Shields pleaded guilty to punching a Bellmawr man in the back of the head, resulting in his death.

A Westville man pleaded guilty to the 2012 killing of a Camden man at a Jimmy Buffet concert, Camden County Prosecutor Warren W. Faulk announced on Monday.

Matthew Shields, 23, pleaded guilty to manslaughter in the death of 20-year-old Ryan Cole, of Bellmawr.

Shields admitted that he punched Cole in the back of the head while Cole was tailgating with friends in the parking lot at the Susquehanna Center in Camden on Aug. 28, 2012. Cole hit his head on the pavement when he fell. He died three days later.

Shields is scheduled to be sentenced on May 16.The plea agreement calls for a term of four years incarceration, 85 percent of which must be served before he is eligible for parole.
Mel Sharples March 11, 2014 at 11:46 AM
If that happened a few blocks in any direction and involved residents of Camden...is there any doubt that sentence would have been substantially longer? I mean, can we just call it like it is?
John March 11, 2014 at 07:05 PM
C ' Mon Mel really ?? It was a manslaughter charge not first degree murder. Even know a punch to the back of the head is a cheap as it gets there was no gun involved . We don't know what led up to the assault , wish they would divulge that but since you couldn't help but elude to race. I will remind you of a young Caucasian man who was beaten to death in Center City Philly 2 years ago by 3 minority males who claimed he yelled racial slurs at them when he was simply trying to hail a cab for his fiancee and her mother . Those men were sentenced to 5 yrs , 2 yrs and 2 yrs. 3 on one Mel with a pathetic , excuse for why they did it .
Mel Sharples March 12, 2014 at 07:26 AM
John, I actually agree with the charge and understand the rationale behind it. If the court concludes that this was an unfortunate accident and the risk of this guy killing again is minimal to non-existent...that's that. I'm just not convinced that would be the case for everyone in that scenario based on a number of factors (which, as OJ taught us, have more to do with economics). And I didn't even know the perp was white, btw. Another point I'd make is this - there's a risk to allowing binge drinking events. Maybe a civil suit against the venue will change things.
John March 12, 2014 at 03:32 PM
I agree with that Mel
Mel Sharples March 12, 2014 at 04:27 PM
Indeed, let us remember that Jimmy Buffet fans are drawn from a rich and diverse swath of the population, the only common trait being an affinity for awful, awful music.

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