A Union County jury has returned guilty verdicts against a Union Township man who brutally attacked two women and a man with a hatchet and knife a little more than five years ago, acting Union County Prosecutor Grace H. Park announced Thursday.
Morgan Mesz, 30, was convicted of two counts of first-degree attempted murder, third-degree aggravated assault, and two related weapons charges after several hours of jury deliberation spread over two days following a nearly month-long trial before state Superior Court Judge Stuart Peim.
It was a little before 6 a.m. on Friday, January 7, 2011 when the two female victims, residents of a home on Longview Road in Union Township, noticed that items that had been stored in their shed had been mysteriously strewn across their backyard, according to Union County Assistant Prosecutor Albert Cernadas, Jr., who prosecuted the case.
When the women entered the backyard to investigate, a man later identified as Mesz emerged from the shed and stabbed both women several times, critically wounding them, Cernadas said. A neighbor, then-33-year-old Hernan Agudelo, heard the attack, retrieved a small souvenir baseball bat from his vehicle, and used it to subdue Mesz at the cost of several non-life threatening stab wounds of his own. Shortly thereafter, arriving police arrested Mesz at the scene.
The female victims, ages 50 and 53 at the time, were rushed to University Hospital in Newark for lifesaving emergency medical treatment and surgery. Agudelo and both of the women testified at trial.
“With what the defendant did to these two women, they should be dead,” Cernadas said during the trial. “But they lived next to a hero.”
Convictions on first-degree crimes commonly carry penalties of 10 to 20 years in state prison. Sentencing in the case has been scheduled for April 15, 2016 before Judge Peim.