Teens charged in drug robbery, shooting death of Pennington School grad


Two teenaged boys, ages 16 and 17, have been charged with murder, felony murder, robbery and weapons offenses in connection with the death of Philip Urban, who was found shot to death in a nature preserve Dec.17, according to Mercer County Prosecutor Angelo Onofri and Hopewell Township Police Chief James Rosso.

The 16-year-old boy, who lives in Pennington, and the 17-year-old boy, who lives in Hopewell, were taken into custody Dec. 23, the prosecutor’s office said. They are being held in the Middlesex County Youth Detention Center, pending a detention hearing.

The names of the two teenagers are being withheld because they are juveniles, the prosecutor’s office said.

The two teenagers allegedly lured the 20-year-old Urban to the entry to the Hopewell Valley Nature Preserve off Harbourton-Woodsville Road, where they intended to rob him of a quarter pound of marijuana, the prosecutor’s office said.

When Urban met the teenagers, they allegedly robbed him of the marijuana and then shot and killed him, the prosecutor’s office said. Urban was found slumped over in the driver’s seat of a Mercedes-Benz C300, suffering from a gunshot wound.

Urban was taken to Capital Health Regional Medical Center in Trenton, where he was pronounced dead, the prosecutor’s office said.

The teenagers allegedly participated in the preparation, murder and coverup of Urban’s death, the prosecutor’s office said. The case will be screened by the Mercer County Prosecutor’s Office to determine whether they should be waived up from juvenile court and tried in adult court.

The teenagers were arrested as a result of a joint investigation by the Mercer County Homicide Task Force and the Hopewell Township Police Department, which was launched after police responded to the nature preserve around 7 p.m. Dec. 17.

Urban, who lived in Manalapan, was a 2022 graduate of The Pennington School, where he played basketball, according to published reports at MercerMe.com. He also played basketball at Post University in Connecticut.