Wood-Ridge Man Accused of Brutal Murder in East Rutherford NJ, Prosecutors Plan to Use New DNA Test at Trial
Bergen County prosecutors intend to use a new test for analyzing DNA evidence in an East Rutherford NJ murder case.
According to authorities, the 40-year-old suspect in the case committed the violent murder of a 70-year-old woman in her home. After allegedly beating the woman to death inside her East Rutherford house, the suspect, who is from Wood-Ridge NJ, reportedly set her body on fire in an attempt to destroy evidence of the killing.
Medical examiners later determined that the victim’s death was caused by blunt force trauma to the head. Investigators do not believe that the suspect used a weapon to commit the murder.
The alleged homicide occurred in September 2012. The suspect was identified as the possible culprit early in the case, with detectives conducting surveillance on the suspect and eventually placing him under arrest.
Prosecutors said that the suspect and the victim were longtime acquaintances. The victim reportedly worked for the suspect’s father at Kurgan-Bergen Realty for 25 years. The suspect also reportedly worked at the real estate office for an unspecified period of time.
After being arrested, the suspect was charged with a number of crimes, including first degree murder, attempted murder, aggravated arson, burglary, hindering apprehension, and resisting arrest.
Now prosecutors in the case are seeking to use a new, “next generation” test to analyze infinitesimal DNA evidence that allegedly links the suspect to the killing. The profiling technique is known as low copy number (LCN) typing because it can match a suspect to evidence of just a few cells, or trace amounts of DNA, from a crime scene.
The blood cells in this case were reportedly found by investigators in a kitchen sink at an apartment located on Van Winkle Street in East Rutherford, NJ, more than a mile away from the location of the homicide. Prosecutors believe that the suspect left the DNA when he attempted to clean himself after the murder.
The suspect’s defense attorney tried to get the test results excluded. He argued in front of the Bergen County Superior Court judge that the test is scientifically unreliable. Moreover, said the defense attorney, the DNA test results are subject to contamination. However, the judge rejected the arguments and declared that the test results would be admissible at trial.
The defense attorney has already stated that he plans to appeal the superior court judge’s decision. According to defense counsel, the new DNA test has not yet been accepted by the scientific community. Moreover, until now, just one lab in the entire country, located in New York City, has actually used the test for criminal prosecutions. The Office of the Chief Medical Examiner in New York City has used the DNA test in 140 criminal cases.
If the suspect in this case is ultimately convicted on the first degree murder charges, he faces life imprisonment in New Jersey State Prison.
For further information about this case, go to the NJ.com article entitled “New DNA Test to Make N.J. Debut in Murder Trial, Report Says.”