Handler, Meanor and Kole. The opinion of the court was delivered by Meanor, J.A.D.
[126 NJSuper Page 566] Defendant Joseph Dissicini, Jr. appeals from a conviction of murder in the second degree arising
out of the assassination of Glen Allen Renna, age 23, on January 7 or 8, 1971. The indictment charged defendant, Neil (Dutch) Hunterson, Theodore Pohlig, Howard Jay Stiles and David A. Bevilacqua with the murder and kidnapping of Renna. Defendant's case was severed and he was tried alone. He was acquitted of kidnapping.
The homicide did not come to light until August 17, 1971, when the body of Renna was exhumed from a grave near an abandoned house in a rural area of Berlin Township.
Defendant was a member of a motorcycle gang called the Henchmen. Their leader was Hunterson. Stiles and Pohlig were also members. The Henchmen used the old home near which Renna was buried as a clubhouse. Adjacent to the site of the clubhouse was property owned and occupied by Emanuel and Marie Magalotti. The Magalottis and members of the Henchmen became friendly and it was not unusual for members of the gang to congregate at their home.
During the evening of January 7 defendant and Pohlig ran across decedent at a bar. Renna expressed a desire to meet Hunterson. Renna was a member of a motorcycle gang called the Mongols, but was interested in joining the Henchmen. Renna followed defendant and Pohlig to the Magalotti home.
Shortly after the three entered, Pohlig called Magalotti aside and, referring to Renna, said that they were "going to put a hurt on this guy." Pohlig then called Hunterson, who arrived shortly with Stiles. The group sat and talked, except for Stiles, who may have been asleep, and several weapons, including a knife of Hunterson's and a gun possessed by Renna, were passed around or exhibited.
At about 10:30 P.M. Renna got up to leave and Hunterson then plunged his knife into Renna's abdomen. From this point forward all concerned obeyed Hunterson's orders. Renna, still alive, was bound and gagged. His pockets were emptied. Defendant participated in cleaning out Renna's car and wiping it of fingerprints. He aided Pohlig in carrying Renna to Pohlig's car and placing Renna in the trunk. Hunterson
called a Lenny Shrubs, president of another motorcycle gang named the Warlocks, and told Shrubs that he was bringing him a present. Hunterson and Pohlig left with Renna. With Mrs. Magalotti driving Renna's car, defendant accompanied her to Bristol, Pennsylvania where it was abandoned. They had followed Magalotti and Stiles, who occupied Magalotti's car. Upon return to the Magalotti home, defendant and Stiles fell asleep.
Hunterson and Pohlig arrived at the clubhouse with Renna, still alive, and Bevilacqua. At Pohlig's request the Magalottis went there to administer to Renna, who was in agony. There was talk about "putting him out of his misery." Mrs. Magalotti sutured the wound and attempted to ease his pain with an injection of xylocaine. Magalotti roused defendant and Stiles and had them return to the clubhouse. Defendant participated in completing a grave which had been started. He helped carry Renna to this site. Defendant testified that he was sure that Renna was dead at this point. The medical examiner could form no opinion on the topic. Renna (or his body) was dumped into the grave. Hunterson, with a gun in his hand, ordered the completion of his plan that everyone present would put a bullet into Renna, stating that all were in it together and if one were to hang all would. No doubt Hunterson was operating on the theory that such activity by his companions would be an interdiction against revelation of the evening's events.
By this time the Magalottis had returned to their home. A gun, apparently the weapon Renna had exhibited earlier, was passed from hand to hand. All fired into the grave. Defendant was the fourth of the five to shoot. He claimed that he deliberately fired into the side of the grave but not into Renna. According to defendant, Hunterson, Stiles, Pohlig and defendant each fired once and Bevilacqua twice. Three bullets were found in the body upon autopsy.
The Magalottis received several threatening notes over the next few months. Finally, on August 3, 1971 they went to the authorities. ...