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N.J. slaying suspect found in Norcross

NORCROSS - A 19-year-old New Jersey murder suspect was arrested by Gwinnett County sheriff's deputies in Norcross on Thursday night.

Sheriff's Department spokeswoman Stacey Bourbonnais said Ronald Darby was arrested about 7 p.m. after members of the Southeast Regional Fugitive Task Force and the New York New Jersey Task Force discovered Darby was staying at the home of a family friend at 1140 Falling Water Lane in Norcross. According to the Sheriff's Department detention center docket, Darby lived at 139 South 8th St. in New Jersey.

Newark Police Department spokesman Detective Todd McClendon said Darby is suspected in the Jan. 24 shooting of 23-year-old Oliver Ballentine and a 21-year-old woman from Mendham, N.J.

According to the CrimeStopper's Web site run by the Morris County Sheriff's Department in Morristown, N.J., the woman who was shot was identified as Stephanie Schroeder.

"The incident was drug-related," said McClendon of the shooting.

Ballentine and Schroeder were inside a Jeep Cherokee parked on 75 Shaw Ave. in Newark when the shooting occurred and both suffered multiple gunshot wounds to the torso, according to a January press release issued by McClendon.

Emergency services responded to the scene and pronounced Ballentine dead while the woman was transported to University Hospital in Newark where she was treated and released for her injuries on Jan. 25, the release said.

McClendon said several agencies where involved in looking for Darby.

"From the investigation and talking between (the Southeast Task Force and the New York New Jersey Task Force), that's where they thought he was likely heading," Bourbonnais said.

Bourbonnais said Gwinnett deputies and members of the Task Force set up surveillance around the home and Darby attempted to flee on foot but was stopped and arrested outside the home. She said the Sheriff's Department SWAT team also assisted in Darby's arrest.

Bourbonnais said Darby was wanted by Newark police on charges of murder, attempted murder, distribution of marijuana and distribution of marijuana within 1,000 feet of a school. She said Darby also faces weapons charges in New Jersey, including possession of a machine gun.

"He is being held at the detention center until he is extradited back to New Jersey," Bourbonnais said.

Darby will have to agree to sign papers extraditing him back to his home state, Bourbonnais said. If he does not sign the papers, Bourbonnais said he will have to go to trial in Gwinnett County before he can be moved.

"We're focused on bringing (Darby) back here and trying him accordingly," McClendon said.

McClendon said he could not speculate why Darby chose to flee to Georgia.

"To get away... (Darby) thought he could outrun the law," McClendon said. "Typically people run where they have family and friends."