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Public Report of findings following the Investigation into Allegations of Misconduct by members of the Clark Township and Clark Police Department’s leadership issued by the Office of New Jersey Attorney General Matthew J. Platki

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Prosecutor

Plainfield Pair Found Guilty in 2021 Homicide

A Union County jury has returned a guilty verdict against two men in the shooting of two individuals in Plainfield in 2021, which resulted in the death of one of the victims, Union County Prosecutor William A. Daniel and Plainfield Police Director James Abney announced today.

Jahaad Ingram, 23 and Zaire Wallace, 30 both of Plainfield, were found guilty on Tuesday of first-degree murder, first-degree attempted murder, second-degree unlawful possession of a weapon, and second-degree possession of a weapon for an unlawful purpose following a two-week trial before Union County Superior Court Judge John Deitch. The jury deliberated for 3 days before returning its verdict. 

At approximately 1:55 p.m. on Friday, July 9, 2021, members of the Plainfield Police Department responded to a 9-1-1 call of shots-fired. Upon arriving at the intersection of Rock Avenue and West Front Street, they found two victims suffering from gunshot wounds. Jennifer Vorn, 24 of King of Prussia, Pennsylvania, was pronounced deceased at the scene.  The second victim ultimately survived the gun shot injuries but was permanently paralyzed according to Assistant Prosecutors Christopher Desimone and Melissa Caparruva, who prosecuted the case. 

Testimony offered at trial revealed that on the day of the crime, Ingram and Wallace followed the two victims in their vehicle, eventually stopping at a traffic light located at West Front Street and Rock Avenue in Plainfield. Both men got out of their black Buick SUV with handguns and fired at least sixteen rounds into the victim’s vehicle. At approximately 8 p.m. that same night, Wallace was stopped driving the black Buick. Ingram was found nearby at the Joanne Hollis apartment courtyard at the same time.

Prosecutor Daniel commends the steadfast efforts of the prosecution team, including Assistant Prosecutors Christopher Desimone and Melissa Caparruva, Sergeant Lamar Hartsfield, Detectives Sonia Rodriguez and Ryan Kirsh, as well as the members of Plainfield Police Department, Union County Sheriff’s Office Crime Scene Unit, and Union County Police Department Ballistics Unit.

“I also want to thank all of the concerned citizens whose contributions were essential to the expeditious apprehension of Mr. Ingram and Mr. Wallace.” Prosecutor Daniel said. “Our thoughts are with the victim’s families and their loved ones.”

Sentencing has been tentatively scheduled for January 12, 2024 before Judge Deitch, at which time each defendant can face a sentence of up to life in state prison.

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Prosecutor

Domestic Violence Symposium: Helping Domestic Violence Survivors Navigate a Challenging Economy

The Ninth Annual Union County C.A.R.E.S. (Community, Action, Response, Education, Safety) Domestic Violence Symposium is scheduled to take place virtually on Thursday, July 27 from 1pm-4pm. This year’s featured topic will be Helping Domestic Violence Survivors Navigate a Challenging Economy.

Attendance is free of charge, and registration, which is open to the public, is available online at ywcaunioncounty.org/ywca-events/domestic-violence-symposium-2023/

The Symposium is a joint presentation between the Union County Prosecutor’s Office and the YWCA Union County, with support from the Union County Board of County Commissioners and the Union County Office of Victim/Witness Advocacy. Attendance is free of charge, and registration, which is open to the public, is available online at https://www.ywcaunioncounty.org/ywca-events/domestic-violence-symposium-2023/

The event will feature three panels of experts who will discuss the financial challenges that domestic violence survivors face and the resources available to help them. The panels will also provide tips on how to create a safety plan, find safe housing, and access financial assistance.

Union County Prosecutor William Daniel expresses his gratitude for the Domestic Violence Symposium and the assistance it can provide. “Domestic violence is a crime that has a devasting impact on survivors, not only physically and emotionally but it can also have a significant economic impact, as survivors can potentially lose their jobs, homes, and financial security. In a challenging economy, it can be even more difficult for survivors to get back on their feet. That’s why it is so important that survivors know about the programs and organizations that are available throughout Union County. We need to make sure survivors have the resources they need to heal and rebuild their lives.”

“On behalf of the Union County Board of County Commissioners, I am honored to be part of this year’s Domestic Violence Symposium, focusing on the vital topic of Helping Domestic Violence Survivors Navigate a Challenging Economy,” said Commissioner Chairman Sergio Granados. “As we gather at the symposium with several different community partners, let us recognize the determined strength and resilience of survivors who face not only the trauma of domestic violence but also the daunting economic obstacles that can go with it. Together, we will explore innovative solutions, empower survivors with financial tools, and foster a supportive environment to help them rebuild their lives and thrive among adversity.”

Karen Geer, Executive Director of the YWCA Union County shares, “The YWCA is thrilled to continue our collaboration with the Union County Prosecutor’s Office to be putting on another symposium addressing critical and timely topics for all those who serve victims of domestic violence, this time focusing on helping survivors navigate the challenging economic landscape and especially the impact it has had on victims looking for permanent and safe housing.”

About some of the participating organizations:

YWCA Union County is the state designated lead domestic violence agency for Union County offering comprehensive services and programs for survivors of domestic violence. All services are free of charge and include Emergency Shelter, 24 Hour Hotline, Family Justice Center, Counseling and Case Management, Court Advocacy, STEP (Skills Training and Empowerment Program), PALS (Peace: A Learned Solution), CRT (Crisis Response Team), DV Liaison Program, and Community and Professional Development.

Elizabeth Coalition to House the Homeless, who’s mission is as follows:

  • Serve the homeless and housing insecure of Union County by
    ending their immediate crises through advocacy and services.
  • Advocate for policy changes at all levels of government so that
    people have genuine access to safe and affordable housing.
  • Build and maintain transitional and permanent housing to address
    this housing crisis.
  • Enlarge the collective power in our communities to expand
    support for homeless and housing insecure people throughout our
    county and beyond. 

Family Promise is a national organization that helps families experiencing homelessness find safe, stable housing. Family Promise partners with local congregations and community organizations to provide a diverse arrange of services: homeless prevention, shelter diversion, rental assistance, emergency shelter, and case management.

AFSC (American Friends Service Committee) is a Quaker organization that works to promote peace and social justice around the world. The Immigrant Rights Program (IRP) represents immigrant populations throughout the state of New Jersey. AFSCs support leadership development and organizing for impacted individuals. IRP legal services staff provides legal representation and information to immigrant communities. In addition, staff conducts presentations to fill the critical need for accurate information. This includes Know Your Rights presentations to educate and empower immigrant communities. For over 32 years, AFSC has been the primary provider of legal services to immigrant communities in New Jersey, with significant experience providing legal representation to low-income immigrant survivors of domestic violence and other crimes in their immigration matters.

Partners empowers low-income victims and survivors of domestic violence to build safe and secure futures for themselves and their children by providing equal access to justice. We offer quality legal assistance in domestic violence and family law matters. Partners is a non-profit public interest law firm that is dedicated to making a difference in the lives of domestic violence and sexual assault victims through legal representation, advice, counseling sessions, and by advocating for procedural and legislative change to benefit victims. Partners offers free legal help to low-income victims. We help domestic violence victims secure restraining orders and sexual assault victims secure protective orders. We also assist with child and spousal support, visitation, and custody, as well as post-judgement relief matters. Our legal assistance includes extensive advice and counsel and assistance with preparation of court papers for self-represented victims or representation by a pro bono attorney or by a Partners staff attorney.

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Prosecutor

Remains of 2020 homicide victim identified

Jasmine Featherstone

The remains of a homicide victim found in Elizabeth three years ago have been identified, Union County Prosecutor William A. Daniel announced today.

The then unidentified woman’s body was discovered on June 11, 2020 along the railroad tracks in the area of the 300 block of Port Avenue in Elizabeth. A subsequent autopsy determined her death to be a homicide. Through both the Detectives’ investigative efforts and DNA testing through Othram Labs, the victim was recently identified as 23-year-old Jasmine Featherstone, of Elizabeth, previously from Middletown, Connecticut.

This is an ongoing and active investigation, and anyone with information about this matter is being urged to contact Prosecutor’s Office Sergeant Lamar Hartsfield at 908-451-1873, Detective Angela Concepcion at 908-341-5416 or Elizabeth Police Department Detective Louis Demondo at 908-558-2100.

Tips can be submitted anonymously by phone at 908-654-TIPS (8477) or online at www.uctip.org; submission of tips made in this fashion that result in an indictment and conviction can be eligible for a reward of up to $10,000 via the Union County Crime Stoppers.

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Prosecutor

Accreditation Public Comment

The Union County Prosecutor’s Office is scheduled for an on-site assessment as part of its program to achieve accreditation by verifying that it meets recognized professional best practices.

Administered by the New Jersey State Association of Chiefs of Police, the accreditation program requires agencies to comply with best practice standards in five basic areas: the administrative function, the personnel function, the operations function, the investigative function, and the arrestee/detainee function.

Agency employees and the public are invited to offer comments by calling 908-527-4331 on Friday, June 30, between the hours of 10:00am – 11:00am. Comments will be taken by the Assessment Team. Email comments can be sent to ucpo@ucpo.org.

Telephone comments are limited to 5 minutes and must address the agency’s ability to comply with the NJSACOP standards. Please contact Nicholas Falcicchio, Detective Sergeant at 908-527-4331 for more information.

Anyone wishing to submit written comments about the Union County Prosecutor’s Office ability to comply with the standards for accreditation may send them by email to Harry J Delgado, Ed.S Accreditation Program Director, hdelgado@njsacop.org, or write to the New Jersey State Association of Chief’s of Police, Law Enforcement Accreditation Commission at 751 Route 73 North, Suite 12, Marlton, N.J. 08053

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Prosecutor

Body parts recovered in Elizabeth waterways last month identified

Body parts recovered in Elizabeth in May have been identified as an Elizabeth man, Union County Prosecutor William A. Daniel, Elizabeth Police Director Earl Graves and Elizabeth Police Chief Giacomo Sacca jointly announced today.

Woldy Ventura-Cruz, 34 has been identified from remains found floating in the area of the Arthur Kill and Elizabeth River on various days during the month of May, beginning with a discovery by police on May 16th.  During the ensuing joint investigation by the Union County Prosecutor’s Office Homicide Task Force and the Elizabeth Police Department, the remains were recovered and transported to the Union County Medical Examiner’s Office, who subsequently determined Ventura-Cruz’s manner of death to be homicide and additionally performed testing that positively verified his identity. 

The investigation is ongoing and anyone with information about Mr. Ventura-Cruz or this matter is urged to contact Prosecutor’s Office Sergeant Filipe Afonso at (908) 603-7116, Prosecutor’s Office Detective Kenneth Luongo at (908) 347-1935 or Elizabeth Police Department Detective James Szpond at (908) 558-2041.

Tips can also be submitted anonymously by phone at 908-654-TIPS (8477) or online at www.uctip.org; submission of tips made in this fashion that result in an indictment and conviction can be eligible for a reward of up to $10,000 via the Union County Crime Stoppers.

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Prosecutor

Authorities seek assistance in investigation of a torso discovered in Elizabeth waters

A torso recovered in Elizabeth Tuesday has prompted a homicide investigation, Union County Prosecutor William A. Daniel, Elizabeth Police Director Earl Graves and Elizabeth Police Chief Giacomo Sacca jointly announced today.

On Tuesday shortly before 5 p.m., Elizabeth Police Department patrol units responded to South Front Street on the waterfront and located a Caucasian male torso floating in the area where the Arthur Kill and Elizabeth River converge.  The body was recovered and transported to the Union County Medical Examiner’s Office, who subsequently determined the unidentified male’s manner of death to be homicide. 

The investigation is being jointly led by the Union County Prosecutor’s Office Homicide Task Force and the Elizabeth Police Department.

Anyone with information about this matter is urged to contact Prosecutor’s Office Sergeant Filipe Afonso at 908-603-7116, Prosecutor’s Office Detective Kenneth Luongo at (908-347-1935) or Elizabeth Police Department Detective James Szpond at 908-558-2041.

Tips can also be submitted anonymously by phone at 908-654-TIPS (8477) or online at www.uctip.org; submission of tips made in this fashion that result in an indictment and conviction can be eligible for a reward of up to $10,000 via the Union County Crime Stoppers.

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Prosecutor

Man charged in Roselle double homicide

A Roselle man has been charged with the homicide of two members of a Roselle family who were found deceased in their home in April, Union County Prosecutor William A. Daniel and Roselle Police Chief Stacey Williams announced today.

Everoy L. Morrison, 44 of Roselle, was charged with two counts of first-degree murder and a number of weapons counts in the murders of 45 year-old Keisha Morrison and her 9 year-old daughter Kelsey Morrison.  Morrison is also charged with the theft of a motor vehicle, which was taken from the home after the homicides.

Just before noon on April 18th, Roselle Police Officers were called to a home on the 200 block of West 7th Avenue on the report of two missing persons.  A subsequent search of the home uncovered the victims’ bodies, according to Assistant Prosecutors Robert Grady and Bryan Tiscia, who are prosecuting the case.  While at the home, police determined that Keisha Morrison’s vehicle had been taken from the scene.  Investigators from the Prosecutor’s Office Homicide Task Force and the Roselle Police Department were able to track the vehicle to Maryland, where the driver, Everoy Morrison, was stopped and arrested for being in possession of the stolen car.  The exhaustive investigation led by the Prosecutor’s Office Homicide Task Force and the Roselle Police Department, with the assistance of the Union County Sheriff’s Office Crime Scene Unit, and the Maryland State Police, led to the identification of Morrison as the culprit and to his eventual apprehension.  Morrison, the brother-in-law and uncle of the respective victims, had been reportedly residing in the basement of the home at the time of the homicides.

He is currently being housed in the Baltimore County Detention Center in Maryland awaiting extradition proceedings.

“We are appreciative of the collaboration with the local and Maryland law enforcement agencies who assisted our Office in locating and apprehending the suspect,” Prosecutor Daniel said. “And we hope that this arrest can bring some small measure of comfort to all those grieving Keisha and Kelsey.”

This is an ongoing and active investigation, and anyone with information about this matter is urged to contact Prosecutor’s Office Detective Sergeant Lamar Hartsfield at (908) 451- 1873, Detective Wojciech Dziadosz at (908) 347-2212 or Roselle Police Department Detective Luis Vega at (732) 956-1677.

Convictions on crimes of this nature are punishable by terms of up to life in state prison.

These criminal charges are mere accusations. Every defendant is presumed innocent unless and until proven guilty in a court of law.

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Prosecutor

Fanwood Chiropractor charged for sexual misconduct

A Fanwood Chiropractor has been charged after having committed acts of sexual misconduct upon a female patient, Union County Prosecutor William A. Daniel, Fanwood Police Director Michael Bramhall and Officer-In-Charge Lieutenant Daniel Kranz jointly announced today.

Grant L. Babbitt, 70, of Fanwood, has been charged with one count of fourth-degree criminal sexual contact.

Earlier this month, the Fanwood Police Department received a report of an instance of inappropriate sexual contact upon a 30 year-old female patient, which was also referred to the Prosecutor’s Office’s Special Victims Unit.  That investigation revealed that the alleged incident occurred in Babbitt’s Martine Avenue office while the victim was being treated by Babbitt, according to Assistant Prosecutor Kathleen Dillon, who is prosecuting the case.

Babbitt was charged Tuesday and subsequently released pending a May 25th First Appearance in Union County Superior Court.

Anyone with further information about Babbitt is being urged to contact Fanwood Police Detective Sergeant Phillip Ugone at 908-322-5000

Convictions on fourth-degree criminal charges can be punished by up to 18 months in state prison.

These criminal charges are mere accusations. Each defendant is presumed innocent until proven guilty in a court of law.

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Prosecutor

UCPO and Roselle Police investigating Double Homicide

Two members of a Roselle family were found deceased Wednesday afternoon in their home, Union County Prosecutor William A. Daniel and Roselle Police Chief Stacey Williams announced today.

Approximately noon on Wednesday afternoon, Roselle Police Officers were called to a home on the 200 block of West 7th Avenue on the report of two missing persons.  A subsequent search of the home uncovered the bodies of 45 year-old Keisha Morrison and her 9 year-old daughter Kelsey Morrison.  Autopsies conducted yesterday determined that the manner of death was homicide.

This is an ongoing and active investigation, and anyone with information about this matter is urged to contact Prosecutor’s Office Detective Sergeant Lamar Hartsfield at (908) 451- 1873, Detective Wojciech Dziadosz at (908) 347-2212 or Roselle Police Department Detective Luis Vega at (732) 956-1677.

Tips can also be submitted anonymously by phone at 908-654-TIPS (8477) or online at www.uctip.org; submission of tips made in this fashion that result in an indictment and conviction can be eligible for a reward of up to $10,000 via the Union County Crime Stoppers.