On appeal from Superior Court of New Jersey, Law Division, Union County, Indictment No. 97-07-0733.
NOT FOR PUBLICATION WITHOUT THE APPROVAL OF THE APPELLATE DIVISION
Submitted November 5, 2009
Before Judges Graves and Sabatino.
Defendant Lawrence McGriff appeals from an order dated April 20, 2004, denying his petition for post-conviction relief (PCR). After reviewing defendant's arguments in light of the record and the applicable law, we affirm.
Defendant was charged in a nine-count indictment with various offenses, including the purposeful or knowing murder of Ramon Medina, who was shot and killed while working at a gas station in Linden that was robbed by defendant and two other individuals on January 27, 1997. Pursuant to a negotiated plea agreement, defendant pled guilty to an amended charge of first- degree aggravated manslaughter, in violation of N.J.S.A. 2C:11- 4(a)(1) (count one); first-degree robbery, in violation of N.J.S.A. 2C:15-1 (count five); and second-degree possession of a weapon (a handgun) with the purpose to use it unlawfully, in violation of N.J.S.A. 2C:39-4(a) (count six). In exchange for the guilty pleas, the State agreed to recommend a thirty-year sentence with fifteen years of parole ineligibility on count one; a consecutive twenty-year sentence with ten years of parole ineligibility on count five; a concurrent ten-year sentence with five years of parole ineligibility on count six; and agreed to request the dismissal of the remaining counts of the indictment. During the plea hearing on March 12, 1999, defendant testified he understood the State was recommending a sentence of fifty years imprisonment with twenty-five years of parole ineligibility. Defendant admitted shooting and killing the victim during an armed robbery of the gas station on January 27, 1997, and in response to questions from the court, defendant testified as follows:
Q: Mr. McGriff, how old are you?
Q: How far did you go in school?
A: I graduated high school, one year of college.
Q: So you could, of course, read and write the English language?
Q: You understood all the questions on ...