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Two Face Charges After Shooting of Hackensack Business Man
Posted on July 23, 2014 by Travis Tormey | 0 Comments

Two defendants recently appeared in Bergen County Superior Court to face a myriad of charges, including homicide, possession of a weapon for an unlawful purpose, and serious drug charges, in connection with a case involving the shooting of a Hackensack business owner.

Newark residents 25-year-old Mujahideen Abdullah and 28-year-old Jomaris Gonzalez appeared before Superior Court Judge Edward A. Jerejian on Monday, July 21st, while a host of the victim’s family and friends observed the proceedings. Abdullah is accused of murdering 39-year-old Hackensack resident Jeffrey Mansilla, the owner of a local limousine company, while Gonzalez is accused of hindering the investigation of the case, among other offenses.

According to authorities, Abdullah and Gonzalez followed Mansilla from a club in Belleville to a location on Route 80 in Saddle Brook at 2:00 a.m. on June 12th, at which time Abdullah allegedly shot Mansilla through the driver’s side door of his vehicle. The victim sustained a gunshot wound to the hip and was later declared deceased at Hackensack University Medical Center.

Following a six-week investigation, Abdullah and Gonzalez were arrested on Thursday, July 17th. Officials have yet to reveal the suspected motive for the shooting. However, Abdullah is now facing charges for homicide, possession of a weapon for an unlawful purpose, maintaining or operating a drug production facility, as well as possession of heroin and marijuana. He is currently being held at the Bergen County Jail, with his bail set at $2 million.

Gonzalez has been charged with a variety of offenses including hindering apprehension or prosecution, maintaining or operating a drug production facility, and possession of cocaine, heroin, and marijuana with intent to distribute. She is also being held at the Bergen County Jail in lieu of $250,000 bail.

Both homicide and maintaining or operating a controlled dangerous substance production facility offenses are classified as first degree crimes under the New Jersey Criminal Code. Notably, these charges warrant different penalties, although they are considered crimes of the same degree. Charges for maintaining or operating a drug production facility, codified under N.J.S.A. 2C:35-4, are punishable by a term of incarceration ranging from 10 to 20 years in New Jersey State Prison, as are typical first degree crimes.

Homicide charges, on the other hand, are subject to extended sentencing guidelines under N.J.S.A. 2C:11-3, which governs charges related to these offenses. According to this statute, a murder conviction warrants a prison sentence ranging from 30 years to life, with a minimum 30-year period of parole ineligibility.

Although Abdullah is facing the most serious charges of the two defendants, both have been charged with crimes considered extremely egregious under New Jersey law and could be sentenced to serve significant terms of imprisonment upon conviction.

For more information pertaining to this case, access the following article: ‘Rot in hell!’ loved one of Hackensack man fatally shot on Route 80 shouts at accused gunman

Englewood Woman Charged with Robbery, Endangering the Welfare of a Child
Posted on July 22, 2014 by Travis Tormey | 0 Comments

englewood robbery child endangermentA woman from Englewood, New Jersey is currently facing charges for robbery and endangering the welfare of a child after allegedly stealing from a local store while accompanied by the young child of a friend.

According to Detective Captain Timothy Torell of the Englewood Police Department, 53-year-old Englewood resident Tamar Thomas is accused of stealing merchandise valued at $200 from the Papyrus store located on East Palisade Avenue in Englewood. Per reports, Thomas arrived at the store at approximately 2:30 p.m. on Saturday, July 19th with her friend’s six-year-old daughter in tow.

She allegedly had a confrontation with a store employee before fleeing the store with the child and the merchandise. Although Thomas is accused of assaulting the employee during the commission of the crime, the alleged victim did not sustain significant injuries and the child was subsequently returned to her guardian unharmed.

The employee pursued Thomas as she left the store and, with the help of a concerned bystander, the two followed her and contacted law enforcement. Shortly thereafter, officers from the Englewood Police Department arrested Thomas and took the young girl into custody. Thomas, who is now facing charges for robbery and endangering the welfare of a child, is currently being held at the Bergen County Jail, with her bail set at $101,250.

Records reveal that Thomas has a lengthy criminal history, which includes 12 convictions for felonies in New Jersey and New York. With regard to the most recent charges against her, robbery offenses, which are governed under N.J.S.A. 2C:15-1, can be classified as first or second degree crimes. Thomas has likely been charged with second degree robbery, in which case she could be sentenced to serve between 5 and 10 years in New Jersey State Prison upon conviction.

Further, all robbery charges are subject to sentencing under New Jersey’s No Early Release Act (NERA), requiring the defendant to serve 85% of the sentence imposed before becoming eligible for parole.

For more information pertaining to this case, access the following article: Adventures in babysitting: Woman took friend’s 6-year-old to store robbery, Englewood cops say

 

Upper Saddle River Man’s Aggravated Assault Case Resolved with Probation
Posted on July 19, 2014 by Travis Tormey | 0 Comments

bergen county probation dept.A man from Upper Saddle River was recently sentenced to a two-year period of probation after being convicted of aggravated assault and terroristic threats in Bergen County Superior Court.

On Friday, July 18th, Superior Court Judge James J. Guida sentenced 55-year-old Lawrence Gorga to two years of probation, a violation of which would result in a 90-day jail term. The original charges stemmed from an incident in which Gorga threatened and assaulted his 70-year-old neighbor in Upper Saddle River, leaving the victim with a broken nose.

Previously in this case, Gorga refused a plea offer from the Bergen County Prosecutor’s Office that would have required him to plead guilty to a lesser disorderly persons offense. He also applied for acceptance into the Pre-Trial Intervention Program (PTI), which would have resulted in the dismissal of the charges against him, provided that he successfully completed the conditions of the program.

Gorga’s request for PTI was rejected due to a variety of extenuating factors, including the extent of the victim’s injury, the nature of the offense, and Gorga’s criminal history. According to authorities, he has been previously arrested a number of times for offenses involving assault and obstruction.

Per the terms of his sentence, Gorga will be subject to two years of probation, as well as mandatory anger management classes. He was also ordered to have no contact with the victim or his family.

Considering the seriousness of the crimes for which he was convicted, Gorga’s sentence is relatively lenient. For example, aggravated assault offenses, which are governed under N.J.S.A. 2C:12-1b, can be classified as second, third, or fourth degree crimes, depending upon the circumstances of the specific case. As such, a conviction for aggravated assault can result in a term of imprisonment ranging from 18 months to 10 years in New Jersey State Prison.

For more information pertaining to this case, access the following article: Upper Saddle River man gets probation for assaulting neighbor, 70

Bergenfield Woman Allegedly Commits Theft on Hackensack Courtroom Video
Posted on July 18, 2014 by Travis Tormey | 0 Comments

hackensack theft in court roomA woman from Bergenfield was recently charged with theft for allegedly stealing the purse of another woman while in Hackensack Municipal Court.

According to Detective Captain Thomas Salcedo of the Hackensack Police Department, surveillance video from courtroom cameras show 65-year-old Bergenfield resident Nancy Llerena stealing a female victim’s purse on the morning of Wednesday, July 16th.

Authorities say that Llerena was simply at the court with a friend who was issued a traffic summons and she stole the purse when the woman left it unattended while appearing before the judge. The video allegedly documents Llerena as she puts the woman’s purse inside her own and leaves the courtroom.

When Hackensack officers identified the man that Llerena had accompanied to court, he reportedly disclosed her identity, and she was subsequently arrested. Police reportedly discovered the stolen property in a mailbox located on Main Street in Hackensack, still containing credit and debit cards. The only thing missing, according to the victim, was $15 in cash.

Nonetheless, Llerana is now facing theft charges, specifically those for theft of movable property, which are codified under N.J.S.A. 2C:20-3a. Offenses governed under this statute can be classified as second, third, or fourth degree crimes, or disorderly persons offenses, depending upon the amount allegedly obtained through the theft offense.

In this case, Llerena has been charged with a disorderly persons offense, as the monetary value associated with her charges is less than $200.00. As such, she will appear in Hackensack Municipal Court to face these charges and could be punished by a sentence to serve a maximum term of 6 months in the county jail, in addition to court-imposed fines, if she is ultimately convicted.

For more information pertaining to this case, access the following article: Hackensack police charge Bergenfield woman with stealing pocketbook from court

Teaneck Police Arrest Wanted Man Now Charged with Prescription Drug Offenses
Posted on July 17, 2014 by Travis Tormey | 0 Comments

teaneck prescription drug caseA man from Teaneck, New Jersey, with multiple outstanding warrants for his arrest, is now facing additional prescription drug-related charges, after being stopped by a Teaneck police officer recently.

According to Robert A. Carney, the chief of the Teaneck Police Department, 34-year-old Teaneck resident Joseph T. Law was initially stopped by Sergeant Seth Kriegel in the vicinity of Route 4 and Arlington Avenue on Tuesday, July 15th. Law, who was reportedly driving with a suspended driver’s license, was then identified as a wanted man, with three outstanding warrants for his arrest, two of which were related to cases in Hackensack, while the third was reportedly for charges filed in Teaneck.

During the stop, Sergeant Kriegel allegedly noticed a bag containing large amounts of cash located on the front passenger seat, at which time he requested Law’s consent to search the vehicle. The subsequent search led to the discovery of 54 capsules containing white powder, as well as 57 white pills. Neither substance has been identified as of yet; however, Law was arrested for illegal possession of prescription drugs.

He has also been charged with money laundering, in connection with the $9,874 that was also seized from the vehicle as a result of the search. Law was released from the Bergen County Jail after posting bail in the amount of $20,000 pending an appearance in court.

With regard to the most recent crimes from which he has been accused, offenses involving the possession, possession with intent to distribute, and distribution of prescription drugs are addressed by N.J.S.A. 2C:35-10.5. In these cases, the degree of the charges is determined by the specific alleged offense and the amount of the substance in question.

For example, illegal possession of prescription drugs can be a considered a crime of the fourth degree in cases involving 5 or more units (pills), while those involving 4 units (pills) or fewer are classified as disorderly persons offenses. This is a significant distinction, as fourth degree crimes are indictable felonies, which are adjudicated at the Superior Court in the county in which the alleged offense occurred. These are more serious charges than disorderly persons offenses and are punishable by a maximum sentence of 18 months in New Jersey State Prison.

For more information pertaining to this case, access the following article: Police say Teaneck driver wanted on warrants had more than pills, nearly $10,000 in cash

Posted under : Drug Crimes,Traffic Offenses
Lyndhurst Police Arrest 3 for Assault, Fraud, Drug Crimes
Posted on July 16, 2014 by Travis Tormey | 0 Comments

lyndhurst police carOfficers from the Lyndhurst Police Department recently arrested three men, who are now facing a multitude of charges including eluding, hindering apprehension or prosecution, resisting arrest, and aggravated assault. In addition, they have been charged with credit card fraud, identity theft, and possession of marijuana, due to articles allegedly discovered in their vehicle during a traffic stop.

According to Lyndhurst Police Captain John J. Valente, three men were pulled over for speeding on Page Avenue in Lyndhurst at approximately 2 p.m. on Monday, July 14th. Per reports, the driver, 23-year-old Christopher Johnson, initially stopped the vehicle, but drove away as Officer James Goral approached.

A police chase involving multiple officers ensued, nearly ending when the vehicle crashed into a tree. However, Johnson allegedly continued to elude police, striking a police car as he fled the scene. When the car finally stopped, officers took 25-year-old Sheardwood Michel and 22-year-old Dwayne Thompson into custody, while Johnson attempted to escape on foot before being arrested.

A subsequent search of the vehicle led to the discovery of multiple fraudulent credit cards, as well as small quantities of marijuana. As a result, all three defendants were charged with eluding, hindering apprehension or prosecution, resisting arrest, credit card fraud, identity theft, possession of marijuana, and aggravated assault. The men were transferred to the Bergen County Jail after processing, at which time Johnson’s bail was set at $40,000, with Michel’s and Thompson’s set at $37,500 each.

The crimes for which the aforementioned defendants have been accused are highly varied in terms of the degree of these crimes, as well as the penalties associated with a conviction. For example, under New Jersey law, eluding offenses are classified as second or third degree felonies and are punishable by a mandatory period of driver’s license suspension ranging from 6 months to 2 years in addition to a prison term.

Further, offenses involving hindering apprehension or prosecution can be considered crimes of the second, third, or fourth degree, or disorderly persons offenses. Aggravated assault offenses are also variable in the degree of these charges, which can range from second to fourth degree crimes. The circumstances of each case are evaluated with regard to a list of specific criteria included under the statute that governs the offense in order to determine the degree of the charges.

When facing criminal charges, it is extremely important to determine the degree of the charges filed against you, as this can significantly impact potential punishments, as well as determine the venue in which your case will be adjudicated. For instance, first, second, third, and fourth degree crimes are considered felonies under the New Jersey Criminal Code and are addressed at the Superior Court in the county in which the alleged offense occurred. These crimes carry sentences ranging from 18 months to 20 years in state prison.

On the other hand, disorderly persons offenses are tried in the Municipal Court associated with the location of the alleged offense and are typically punishable by a maximum term of 6 months in the county jail, in addition to any fines or other applicable penalties, such as a driver’s license suspension.

For more information pertaining to this case, access the following article: New York men arrested after Lyndhurst car chase, police say

Wood-Ridge Traffic Stop Results in Serious Marijuana Charges
Posted on July 15, 2014 by Travis Tormey | 0 Comments

wood-ridge marijuana bust after traffic stopFollowing a routine traffic stop in Wood-Ridge, New Jersey, a man from Clifton has been charged with multiple drug offenses, including possession of marijuana, possession with intent to distribute, possession within 500 feet of certain public property, and possession of drug paraphernalia.

According to Wood-Ridge Police Detective Joseph Rutigliano, Officer Mark Torsiello initially pulled over 22-year-old Clifton resident Anthony Woodbury on Moonachie Avenue in Wood-Ridge at approximately 5:30 p.m. on Monday, July 14th because the Honda Accord he was driving at the time displayed an expired inspection sticker and did not have a front license plate. When Officer Torsiello allegedly smelled marijuana, he requested and received Woodbury’s consent to search the vehicle. The subsequent search led to the discovery of 2 ½ ounces of marijuana as well as a marijuana grinder.

As a result, Woodbury was arrested and charged with possession of marijuana, possession with intent to distribute, possession with intent to distribute within 500 feet of certain public property, and possession of drug paraphernalia. He posted bail in the amount of $1,500 pending an appearance in court.

Of the crimes for which he is accused, marijuana possession with intent to distribute is governed under N.J.S.A. 2C:35-5, which addresses all offenses related to the manufacture, distribution, or dispensation of marijuana in New Jersey. According to this statute, in cases involving marijuana in a quantity of one ounce or more but less than five pounds, the offense is considered a crime of the third degree, which is punishable by a term of incarceration ranging from 3 to 5 years in New Jersey State Prison. A defendant may also be subject to a maximum fine of $25,000 upon conviction.

Even more seriously, Woodbury has been charged with possession with intent to distribute within 500 feet of certain public property, which is classified as a second degree crime under N.J.S.A. 2C:35-7.1, unless the offense involves less than one ounce of marijuana, in which case it is a crime of the third degree. Per the statute, “certain public property” can include a public housing facility, a public park, or a public building but in this case, the property in question was a public park. As such, Woodbury is facing a prison sentence of between 5 and 10 years if he is found guilty.

For more information pertaining to this case, access the following article: Missing plate, expired inspection sticker leads to Wood-Ridge pot arrest

Defendants Sentenced to Extended Terms after Bergen County Burglary Convictions
Posted on July 14, 2014 by Travis Tormey | 0 Comments

nutley burglaries sentencingTwo men allegedly connected to the James Bond Gang were recently sentenced in Bergen County Superior Court, after being convicted of numerous crimes committed in Nutley, New Jersey, including burglary and eluding.

According to Assistant Bergen County Prosecutor David Calviello, 40-year-old Englewood resident Dammen McDuffie and 24-year-old Hackensack resident Hakeem Chance, conspired to commit two separate burglaries at Nutley residences. The defendants subsequently fled the scene, compelling an extensive police chase involving officers from the Englewood, Fort Lee, Hackensack, and Teaneck police departments, as well as detectives from the Bergen County Prosecutor’s Office.

McDuffie successfully eluded police at the time, but was ultimately identified with a driver’s license photograph obtained through the NJ motor vehicle database. Chance, who was taken into custody shortly after the two crashed their vehicle in Montclair, was charged with crimes including burglary, reckless driving, leaving the scene of motor vehicle accident while creating a risk of death or injury, eluding, and eight counts of attempted assault on a police officer.

Following an 11-day trial in Bergen County Superior Court, a jury convicted both defendants of nearly all of the charges against them. Superior Court Judge Patrick J. Roma cited burglary crimes as a rampant issue plaguing Bergen County before issuing the defendants’ sentences in court recently. During the hearing, Chance was sentenced to serve 17 ½ years in New Jersey State Prison, with an 8-year period of parole ineligibility. As for McDuffie, he received a 15 ½-year sentence, 7 ½ years of which he will be ineligible for parole.

Burglary offenses, which are governed under N.J.S.A. 2C:18-2, are typically classified as second or third degree crimes, punishable by a maximum term of 10 years in prison. In this case, both defendants received extended terms upon conviction, as they were both identified as persistent offenders.

Under N.J.S.A. 2C:44-3a:

“It is constitutional for a sentencing court to consider objective facts about a defendant’s prior convictions (including out-of-state convictions), his/her age when the offenses were committed, and the elements and degrees of the offenses, in order to determine whether the statutory requirements for an extended term are satisfied.”

Prosecutor Calviello noted McDuffie’s extensive criminal record, which includes 20 convictions for felony-level offenses, and Chance’s numerous felony convictions at such a young age in order to justify the State’s request for extended sentences.

For more information pertaining to this case, access the following article: Two Bergen men with James Bond Gang ties sentenced in burglaries, wild police chase

Drugs and Weapons Charges for Four Defendants Linked to One Gun
Posted on July 13, 2014 by Travis Tormey | 0 Comments

gun in evidenceFour individuals are currently facing charges for drug and weapons offenses following the investigation of a shootout involving officers from the Hackensack Police Department, which ultimately led officials to an illegal handgun.

According to Bergen County Prosecutor John L. Molinelli, 22-year-old Cliffside Park resident Jerry “Angel” Nunez obtained a .45-caliber AMT semi-automatic pistol from a man in Florida in June of last year, after which he sold the gun to 24-year-old Paramus resident Sean Stark.

Stark, who allegedly purchased the weapon for $500, is accused of subsequently supplying it to Robert Leonardis, with whom Hackensack officers engaged in a shootout on July 22, 2013.

Leonardis was allegedly attempting to flee from police when he fired the gun at their vehicle. Although the officers emerged from the incident unharmed, Leonardis was shot multiple times. An investigation tracing the weapon’s origin  ultimately led to the identification of Nunez, Stark, and the Florida man who allegedly sold the gun to Nunez.

After reviewing the evidence, a Bergen County Grand Jury issued a  15-count indictment against the aforementioned defendants. Since law enforcement officials reportedly discovered marijuana and Ecstacy when taking Nunez and Stark into custody, both men, as well as Stark’s girlfriend, 23-year-old Upper Saddle River resident Christiana Cyriax, are facing charges for possession of marijuana and possession of MDMA with the intent to distribute, among other offenses.

Cyriax was later charged with additional drug offenses, when officers from the Ridgefield Park Police Department allegedly discovered her with significant amounts of marijuana, heroin, cocaine, and LSD in a vehicle on Route 46.

Among the crimes for which they are accused, charges involving the illegal possession of a handgun are governed under N.J.S.A. 2C:39-5(b), and can be classified as second or third degree crimes. These offenses are included under subsection (b) of the statute N.J.S.A. 2C:39-5, which addresses all charges involving the unlawful possession of weapons.

Due to the fact that New Jersey has some of the most strict gun laws in the nation, illegal possession of a handgun convictions typically entail a prison sentence, as well as a period of parole ineligibility for the defendant. The specific sentence imposed in each case is determined by multiple factors, including the degree of the charges, the type of gun involved, and the defendant’s criminal history (if applicable).

For more information pertaining to this case, access the following article: Drug, weapons charges tied to gun in Hackensack police shootout

15-Count Indictment in Bergen County Aggravated Sexual Assault Trial
Posted on July 11, 2014 by Travis Tormey | 0 Comments

Aggravated-Sexual-AssaultIn an ongoing trial in Bergen County Superior Court, a man is facing a 15-count indictment, which includes 7 counts of aggravated sexual assault. Defense counsel recently rested his case, having presented no witnesses and no testimony from the defendant.

53-year-old Sisa Butu, also known as James McDowell, who owns and operates a hair care company in Englewood, New Jersey, appeared before Superior Court Judge Patrick J. Roma on Thursday, July 10th regarding the aforementioned charges.

The State’s case against Butu stems from an alleged incident that occurred at his home on Tyron Avenue in Englewood in September of 2010. The alleged victim, his 49-year-old former girlfriend, who is now married with two children, testified on behalf of the state in this case. She alleges that Butu sexually assaulted her multiple times after firing a handgun at the ceiling and threatening to kill her and then himself.

The alleged victim managed to escape to a neighbor’s house because Butu was intoxicated. She subsequently contacted police, who arrived at Butu’s home with a tactical squad. Ultimately, law enforcement authorities used tear gas to force the defendant from the residence, at which time he appeared outside naked and was arrested.

Aggravated sexual assault offenses, which are codified under N.J.S.A. 2C:14-2a, are considered first degree crimes—the most serious under the New Jersey Criminal Code. As such, a conviction for one count of aggravated assault is punishable by a prison sentence ranging from 10 to 20 years. Further, these crimes are among those enumerated in the No Early Release Act (NERA), which requires the defendant to serve 85% of the prison sentence imposed before becoming eligible for parole.

Butu is reportedly facing an additional indictment in Bergen County for charges including aggravated assault, the alleged victim of which is his son. State documents reveal that his criminal history involves previous arrests for perjury, being a fugitive from justice, and endangering the welfare of a child. Considering the current case, the additional indictment, and his lengthy criminal record, the defendant will likely be subject to extremely severe penalties if convicted.

Judge Roma scheduled closing arguments in this case for Tuesday, July 15th

For more information related to this case, access the following article: Defense in rape trial of Englewood hair salon operator rests with no witnesses

Posted under : Sex Crimes