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schoolyard

NEWARK, N.J. — The first trial stemming from the shooting deaths of three friends in a Newark schoolyard is set to begin Tuesday afternoon with opening statements.

Rodolfo Godinez is the first of six defendants to go to trial in the 2007 killings of Dashon Harvey, Iofemi Hightower and Terrance Aeriel.

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A fourth victim survived the attack and is expected to testify.

Prosecutors say the defendants attacked some of the victims with a machete before shooting them execution-style.

The crime brought national attention to Newark’s violence problem and led to numerous measures that have been credited with helping lower the crime rate in New Jersey’s largest city.

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