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A state appellate court has upheld the murder conviction of a man serving a life sentence for the killing of a southern New Jersey police officer shot in his police cruiser

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TRENTON, New Jersey — A state appellate court has upheld the murder conviction of a man serving a life sentence for the killing of a southern New Jersey police officer shot in his police cruiser.

A public defender representing Jahmell Crockam (juh-MEHL' CROCK'-um) had argued the jury that convicted him was tainted by testimony about Crockam's warrants and comments he made about vowing to kill an officer before he would allow himself to be arrested.

But the appellate panel rejected those arguments in a decision issued Wednesday.

They said the comments are "clearly evidence of his state of mind" when the shooting occurred, while the warrants established Crockam's motive for shooting Lakewood Patrolman Christopher Matlosz (MATT'-lohs).

Authorities say Crockam walked up to the officer's cruiser in January 2011 and shot him three times at point blank range.

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