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Two teenagers charged with shooting, killing Manalapan resident

Two male teenagers have been charged with killing Philip Urban of Manalapan, according to Mercer County Prosecutor Angelo Onofri and Hopewell Township Police Chief James Rosso.

Urban was found shot to death in a Mercer County nature preserve Dec. 17.

On Dec. 23, a 16-year-old male who lives in Pennington and a 17-year-old male who lives in Hopewell were taken into custody, according to the Mercer County Prosecutor’s Office.

Each teenager was charged with murder, felony murder, robbery and weapons offenses. The two teenagers were initially placed in the Middlesex County Youth Detention Center, North Brunswick, pending a detention hearing.

Law enforcement authorities did not release the names of teenagers because they are juveniles.

According to the Mercer County Prosecutor’s Office, the two teenagers allegedly lured Urban, 20, to the entry of the Hopewell Valley Nature Preserve off Harbourton-Woodsville Road in Hopewell Township,

Authorities said the two teenagers intended to rob Urban of a quarter-pound of marijuana.

When Urban and the teenagers met, the teenagers allegedly robbed him of the marijuana and shot him, the prosecutor’s office said.

Urban was found slumped over in the driver’s seat of a Mercedes-Benz C300. Authorities said he had sustained a gunshot wound. He was transported to Capital Health Regional Medical Center in Trenton, where he was pronounced dead.

The two teenagers allegedly participated in the preparation, murder and cover-up of Urban’s death, the prosecutor’s office said.

The case will be screened by the Mercer County Prosecutor’s Office to determine whether the juveniles who have been charged should be waived up from juvenile court to adult court.

The teenagers were arrested following an investigation conducted by the Mercer County Homicide Task Force and the Hopewell Township Police Department. The investigation was launched after police officers responded to the nature preserve at about 7 p.m. Dec. 17.

Urban was a 2022 graduate of The Pennington School in Pennington, Mercer County, where he played basketball, according to published reports at MercerMe.com.

Urban was a member of the 2022-23 basketball team at Post University, Waterbury, Conn. The team’s roster lists him as a 6-6, 206-pound freshman who was majoring in business.

Urban is survived by his parents, Ewa and Adam; sister, Gaby; grandparents, Lucyna and Janusz Urban, Andrzej Krakowian, Danuta Dembinska; godparents, Joanna Milata and Krzysztof Kania; aunt; Ewa Michalska; and his cousins, according to an obituary published online by the Woolley-Boglioli Funeral Home.

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