Will a billboard help catch Donald "Donnie" Farrell's killers?
On the fifth anniversary of the fatal assault of the Rowan University student on campus, authorities are hoping the sign will push someone with knowledge of the crime to come forward.
The billboard, on the Black Horse Pike in Williamstown, Gloucester County, reminds motorists about the anniversary of Farrell's slaying, and the $100,000 reward being offered for information leading to the arrest and conviction of a suspect or suspects in the case. Kresson Outdoor Advertising of Voorhees donated the billboard space on the state highway.
Farrell, a 19-year-old sophomore, died Oct. 28, 2007, one day after he was assaulted while walking with friends in the parking lot of a Route 322 convenience store near Rowan's campus in Glassboro.
A group of four or five men approached Farrell and asked for directions to a party, authorities said. As Farrell turned to point behind him, one of the men punched him in the face. After Farrell hit the ground, another man kicked him. The men stole his wallet and cell phone, and fled in a dark car.
Farrell was from Boonton, Morris County.
Gloucester County Prosecutor Sean F. Dalton has said he believes Farrell was the victim of a random robbery and the suspects might have been out-of-towners visiting campus for homecoming festivities.
The prosecutor's office released surveillance video from the convenience store showing a man wanted for questioning in Farrell's slaying. The man was described as black or Hispanic, 5-foot-7, 20 to 24 years old, with braided hair. He wore a dark baseball cap and distinctive Coogi Heritage hooded sweatshirt and used the nickname "Smoke." (Click on the link above to view the video.)
In January 2008, America's Most Wanted aired a two-minute segment about Farrell's slaying.
And last year, a Rowan journalism class used the Farrell case as its focus. The students created a website called The Donnie Farrell Project, which collects their work.
Despite all the attention, no arrests have been made.
“We will continue to actively pursue this case until the persons responsible are held accountable for their actions,” Dalton said previously. “The more Donnie’s story is told, the better our chances of receiving information that will help solve this case and bring his family some sense of closure.”
Anyone with information about the case is asked to call the prosecutor's office at 856-384-5604, or Rowan Police at 856-256-4564. To text an anonymous tip to the prosecutor's office, begin your message with GLOTIP followed by the message and text it to CRIMES (274637).
(Farrell's friends and family have joined with YouGiveGoods for a food drive in his memory to benefit the Interfaith Food Pantry in Morris County. For information on how to make a donation, click here.)