'Pure Evil': N.J. Man Gets 375 Years for Killing 2 Children, Woman over Facebook Post

Jeremy Arrington tied up the victims before stabbing them

Syasia McBurroughs, Ariel Whitehurst, Al-Jahon Whitehurst
Syasia McBurroughs, Ariel Whitehurst and Al-Jahon Whitehurst. Photo: Facebook; GoFundMe (2)

A New Jersey man was sentenced to 375 years in prison for the 2016 murders of two children and a college student and the stabbings of three others — crimes so heinous the judge called the bloody scene a "house of horrors."

On Friday, Judge Ronald Wigler sentenced Jeremy Arrington, 32, to three consecutive life sentences for fatally stabbing Ariel Little Whitehurst, 7, and her brother, Al-Jahon Whitehurst, 11, and fatally shooting college student Syasia McBurroughs, 23, a friend of the family who happened to be visiting their home on November 5, 2016, the Essex County Prosecutor's Office said in a release.

Arrington, who had known the victims for years, attacked the family after he became enraged about a Facebook comment, prosecutors said. One of the stabbing victims had reposted an alert on Facebook about Arrington being wanted in connection with a previous shooting and sexual assault, NJ.com reported.

Furious, Arrington broke into the Whitehurst's apartment in Newark with a loaded firearm.

He tied up everyone inside and "proceeded to torture them by stabbing them with kitchen knives," the prosecutor's office said in the release.

The two children died of their stab wounds. They were pronounced dead at University Hospital.

Arrington then shot and killed McBurroughs, who was pronounced dead at the scene, prosecutors said.

Jeremy Arrington
Jeremy Arrington. Department of Public Safety

Emergency medical personnel were able to save three other victims: the children's 29-year-old mother and a 13-year-old boy and girl, who are twins and the siblings of the 29-year-old woman, NJ.com reported.

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"Police were able to respond because a young girl with autism, who is unrelated to the family and was just visiting, escaped and called for help from her phone in a closet," prosecutors said in the release.

Arrington was arrested after he fled and barricaded himself inside a nearby home, telling police he was holding someone hostage, which turned out to be false, according to prosecutors.

On March 4, Arrington was convicted of 28 counts, including three counts of murder, three counts of attempted murder, burglary, criminal restraint, unlawful possession of a handgun, unlawful possession of a knife and possession of a handgun and a knife for an unlawful purpose.

In addition to the three consecutive life sentences — 75 years each for murder — Judge Wigler imposed consecutive 50-year sentences for each of the three attempted murder convictions for the surviving victims.

"Justice has been served," said Deputy Chief Assistant Prosecutor Justin Edwab, who tried the case with Assistant Prosecutor Chelsea Coleman. "This defendant is pure evil and clearly deserves all 375 years in New Jersey State Prison for the terrible crimes he committed on Nov. 5, 2016.

"These families have waited over 5 years for this moment, and we are all so grateful for this sentence. Thank you to all those who helped bring this defendant to justice and thank you to the jury for holding this defendant accountable."

Arrington's attorney did not respond to PEOPLE's request for comment.

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