A Union County jury has returned guilty verdicts against a man accused of being responsible for the fatal beating of Elizabeth resident Victor Vasquez in 2012, acting Union County Prosecutor Grace H. Park announced Tuesday.
Abraham Roman, 33, of Elizabeth was convicted of second-degree reckless manslaughter and third-degree theft after about four hours of jury deliberation following a three-week trial before state Superior Court Judge Frederic R. McDaniel.
The date was November 21, 2012 when Roman and a co-defendant, 34-year-old Juan Cruz of Elizabeth, attacked Vasquez near the downtown Elizabeth train station, punching him in the face several times before he managed to run away, according to Union County Assistant Prosecutor Nathan Hewette-Guyton, who prosecuted the case.
When Vasquez fled the area, however, Roman and Cruz jumped on a bicycle and caught up to him on West Grand Street, approximately one block from Vasquez’s home, Hewette-Guyton said. There the two men punched and kicked Vasquez repeatedly, and once he was incapacitated, stole his cell phone.
Unbeknownst to Vasquez, the attack left him suffering from an intracranial hemorrhage, according to Hewette-Guyton. Vasquez spent the next day with family members and told them he was suffering from a severe headache and neck pain, but despite receiving encouragement to seek medical attention, he declined, citing a lack of medical insurance and financial concerns and saying he hoped his injuries would heal on their own.
In the days that followed, however, Vasquez’s condition worsened, with his headaches growing more severe and being accompanied by confusion and disorientation. He was last seen on December 3, 2012, after which the 33-year-old lost contact with friends and family members before being found dead in his rooming house a little more than a week later.
Roman and Cruz were arrested and charged two days after Vasquez’s body was found.
Roman is scheduled to be sentenced on July 10, 2015, at which time he will face a term of 5 to 20 years in state prison, with 85 percent of his sentence required to be served before the possibility of parole under the provisions of New Jersey’s No Early Release Act. Cruz’s trial remains pending.