Man connected to string of carjackings waives hearing, goes to trial for murder, robbery

UPDATE: April 1, 2022, 12:30 p.m.

The man accused of leading at least two fatal carjackings in Philadelphia will move along to trial proceedings after he waived his preliminary hearing Friday morning.

Jonathan Akubu is up against murder charges for the deaths of George Briscella, 60, who was shot outside his car while visiting his mother in the Northeast, and Aiah Gbessay, 29, who was killed on Grover Street and whose truck was found torched nearby.

Akubu is believed to be tied to dozens more carjackings — and authorities continue to investigate. He remains in prison.

The original story follows

PHILADELPHIA (KYW Newsradio) — Authorities may have cracked a local operation responsible for at least four carjackings, two of which were fatal. Jonathan Akubu, 28, has been arrested and charged with about a dozen offenses, including murder, robbery and related gun offenses.

Authorities say Akubu is the ringleader of a group that was targeting cars and then shooting drivers. Investigators believe he could be tied to at least a dozen more carjacking incidents.

Officials made the announcement late Tuesday morning at a media briefing, including federal and city authorities, the district attorney and the police commissioner.

The trail leading to him started with the investigation into the deadly carjacking in Northeast Philadelphia on Feb. 7, in which George Briscella, 60, was shot to death while visiting his mother.

Investigators were able to link the incident to a gun, then link that gun to a separate shooting of a 29-year-old, then link the gun to more suburban carjackings.

Akubu's arrest record includes charges of indecent and simple assault. He has also been arrested in the past for rape and aggravated assault.

The investigation continues, as police say they are still looking for the other people connected to those homicides and shootings. There is a lot more work to do, but for right now, they say, a very dangerous man is off the street.

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