Man charged with murdering Newark education advocate who was found dead in his home

A man was arrested Wednesday and charged with murdering a Newark education advocate in his home last month, authorities said.

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Joshua Wise, 28, of Newark, was charged with murder and weapons-related offenses in connection with the death of Johnnie Lattner, 55, of Newark, the Essex County Prosecutor’s Office announced Thursday afternoon.

Lattner was found dead in his Mt. Pleasant Avenue home on Aug. 17 and while his death was originally considered suspicious, it was not ruled a homicide until an autopsy was performed, the office said.

An investigation was launched and Wise, who knew Lattner, was arrested Wednesday, officials said.

No other details were released Thursday, as the investigation into Lattner’s death remained active, the office said.

Lattner was the co-founder of PULSE (Parents Unified for Local School Education), a non-profit organization that was formed by parents as an advocacy group for students in Newark.

The group held a boycott against Newark Public Schools in 2014 and filed an Office of Civil Rights complaint that claimed proposed school closings in the city discriminated against African American students in the much-maligned One Newark plan. The plan included relocating school communities, changing school leadership, and expanding charter schools.

Lattner also unsuccessfully ran for a seat on the Newark School District Board of Education in 2018.

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Chris Sheldon may be reached at csheldon@njadvancemedia.com.

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