By Cleve Bryan
CAMDEN, N.J. (CBS) – Friends and family of Timothy Loper Jr. packed a Camden court room Thursday for the arraignment of the former Marine’s accused killer Darrell Crone.
“I just wanted to see who tore our hearts out,” says Timothy Loper Sr., “I lost not only a son but a best friend.”
The Camden County Prosecutor’s Office says there are at least three witnesses who identified Crone as the suspect.
Crone, known as a Philadelphia-area boxer, has prior convictions for armed robbery and illegal possession of a handgun. Authorities say he’s spent parts of 11 out of the last 13 years in prison and was last released in March 2013.
Investigators say Crone is caught on surveillance video firing a hand gun outside the 20 Horse Tavern early Sunday morning.
The medical examiner’s office determined that Loper Jr. died of a gunshot wound in the back.
“The guy that shot him was a coward,” says Loper Sr.
Dozens of Loper’s family members attended the hearing where Crone received a bail order of $2 million full cash.
Sgt. Michael Pagano says he was roommates with Loper during high school and joined the Marines with him.
“That’s my brother. He was my brother before the Marine Corps and during,” says Pagano.
Records show Timothy Loper Jr. served in the Marines from May 19, 2008 to April 17, 2012. He earned the rank of corporal, E-4 and worked as a low altitude air defense gunner.
He received the service awards of Sea Service Deployment Ribbon, Afghanistan Campaign Medal, Global War on Terrorism Service Medal, National Defense Service Medal, Navy Unit Commendation, and NATO Medal-ISAF Afghanistan.
“Tim would talk about the Marine Corps all the time after he got out, that’s what he loved, being a Marine,” says Pagano,
“We take an oath, an oath to defend everybody here that we don’t know.”