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Elizabeth man convicted in beating death

A Union County jury has returned a guilty verdict against a man who assaulted and and killed a 28-year-old Elizabeth man in July of 2019, Union County Prosecutor William A. Daniel announced today.

Laquan McCall, 31, of Elizabeth, was found guilty Friday on one count each of second-degree manslaughter and second-degree aggravated assault following a two-week trial before Union County Superior Court Judge Candido Rodriguez, Jr.  The jury deliberated for three days before returning its verdict. 

Shortly after 2 a.m. on the morning of Saturday, July 27, 2019, Elizabeth Police Department patrol units responded to a report of an altercation at Ben’s Bar on the 600 block of Meadow Street and found Oscar Melara, 28, who had sustained severe injuries, according to Union County Assistant Prosecutors Alaina Caliendo and Jillian Reyes, who prosecuted the case. Melara was transported to Trinitas Regional Medical Center, where he was pronounced dead.

Testimony presented during the trial revealed that McCall punched the victim approximately four times outside the bar after an altercation, ultimately causing brain injuries that led to Melara’s death.

An investigation by the Union County Homicide Task Force, the Elizabeth Police Department, and the Union County Sheriff’s Office Crime Scene Unit, resulted in McCall being identified, charged and arrested.

Sentencing has been scheduled for Friday, January 27, 2023 before Judge Rodriguez, at which time McCall can face a term of up to ten years in state prison, of which he would be required to serve 85% of that sentence prior to being eligible for parole under the State’s No Early Release Act (NERA).

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Bloomfield man convicted in 2019 Clark carjacking and attempted murder

A Union County jury has returned a guilty verdict against a man who assaulted a Lyft driver and a passenger before carjacking the vehicle in April of 2019, Union County Prosecutor William A. Daniel announced today.

Farrakhan Howard, 30, of Bloomfield, was found guilty on Wednesday on one count each of first-degree carjacking, first-degree attempted murder, second-degree aggravated assault, third degree aggravated assault, third-degree unlawful possession of a weapon for an unlawful purpose, and fourth degree unlawful possession of a weapon, following a four-week trial before Union County Superior Court Judge Thomas K. Isenhour.  The jury deliberated for approximately 8 hours before returning its verdict. 

At approximately 1 a.m. on the morning of Wednesday April 24, 2019, Clark Police Department patrol units responded to the area of Westfield Avenue and found a 47-year-old man bleeding from stab wounds and cuts to his head, face and neck, according to Assistant Prosecutors Izabella Wozniak and Alex Pecora who prosecuted the case.  Officers from the Rahway Police Department soon after located a 20-year-old woman who was also suffering from stab wounds to her head and scratches to her neck, Wozniak and Pecora added.

Testimony presented during the trial revealed that Howard was in the male victim’s Lyft vehicle with the female passenger.  At some point during the trip, Howard assaulted and stabbed the female victim.  At that point, the Lyft driver stopped the vehicle to help the female and Howard stabbed him several times before carjacking the vehicle.  Both victims were able to escape before being located by Clark and Rahway officers.  Howard drove off and was eventually arrested and charged after crashing the victim’s vehicle in Woodbridge.

Sentencing has been scheduled for December 16, 2022, before Judge Isenhour at which time Howard can face a term of up to 30 years in State prison, of which he would be required to serve 85% of that sentence prior to being eligible for parole under the State’s No Early Release Act (NERA).

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Rahway man arrested in weekend homicide

A Rahway resident was arrested last night in Newark after being charged with shooting and killing a man in Rahway on Saturday, Union County Prosecutor William A. Daniel, Rahway Police Director Jonathan Parham and Chief Law Enforcement Officer Lieutenant Shawn Ganley jointly announced today.

Brandan Melford, 31, is charged with first-degree murder, second-degree unlawful possession of a weapon and second-degree possession of a weapon for unlawful purposes in connection with the shooting death of Jack Harris, 44, of Roselle.  

At approximately 12:39 p.m. Saturday afternoon, Rahway Police Officers responded to the 1400 block of Witherspoon Street on the report of gunshots, according to Assistant Prosecutor Christopher Desimone who is prosecuting the case. Upon their arrival they located Harris who had been shot and was subsequently pronounced dead at the scene, Desimone added.

An investigation led by the Union County Homicide Task Force and assisted by the Rahway Police Department, the Union County Sheriff’s Office Crime Scene Unit and the Union County Police Department Ballistics Unit resulted in the identification of Melford as the murder suspect and led to his eventual capture and arrest.

“We are grateful for the collaboration from our partner 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 Mr. Harris.”

Anyone with information regarding this incident is still urged to contact Union County Prosecutor’s Office Homicide Task Force Detective Patrick Bradley at 908-418-2187 Or Rahway Police Department Detective Sidra Colvin at 732-827-2200.

Convictions on crimes of this nature are commonly 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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Fugitive wanted for Plainfield homicide apprehended in Guatemala

A fugitive wanted in connection with a fatal stabbing that took place in Plainfield in 2003 has been located and apprehended in Guatemala, Union County Prosecutor William A. Daniel and Plainfield Police Director James T. Abney announced today. 

Members of the U.S. Marshals Service took 56-year-old Fausto Ramiro Santos Carillo of Plainfield into custody in Guatemala on March 21, 2022, where he was held prior to him being extradited back to New Jersey in the pre-dawn hours this morning. 

He is charged with first-degree murder, third-degree and fourth-degree weapons offenses in connection with the death of 49-year-old Martha Morales. 

On July 23, 2003, members of the Plainfield Police Department responded to the 600 block of East Third Street and found Morales inside an apartment she shared with Fausto Carillo.Morales had sustained multiple fatal stab wounds. Following the murder, Fausto Carillo fled the area.

In February of 2018, the Union County Prosecutor’s Office Homicide Task Force received information concerning Fausto Carillo’s potential whereabouts, which in turn led to his apprehension in Guatemala City, Guatemala.

“I want to commend the fortitude and dedication exhibited by the investigators who have worked tirelessly on this case these past several years, during a time that presented so many other unique challenges,” Prosecutor Daniel said. “Thanks to their efforts, we have moved closer to bringing Fausto Carillo to justice for his role in the murder of Ms. Morales.”

“Fausto Carillo chose to avoid capture by hiding abroad.  He believed distance was his sanctuary, “said Juan Mattos, U.S. Marshal for the District of New Jersey.  “The U.S. Marshals Service has an extended reach and partnerships throughout the world.  Thanks to the steadfast commitment of the Union County Prosecutor’s Office Homicide Task Force, U.S. Marshals, and our law enforcement partners throughout Central America, capturing this most wanted fugitive has brought us one step closer to justice and closure for the victim and their family.” 

Convictions on criminal charges of this nature are commonly 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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Fanwood woman charged with theft and forgery

Jennifer Grambor

An extensive investigation has led to the arrest of a Fanwood woman on charges of theft and forgery, Union County Prosecutor William A. Daniel announced today. The criminal complaint comes as a result of a year-long investigation led by Detective Alex Lopez of the Union County Prosecutor’s Office’s Special Prosecutions Unit. Jennifer Grambor, 50, was charged with three counts of second-degree theft and one count of third-degree forgery.

In August 2021, a local pharmaceutical company made a report to the Union County Prosecutor’s Office that its former Human Resources/Payroll Manager had stolen a large amount of company funds. More specifically, the company’s Forensic Accountant discovered that, between 2016 and 2021, Jennifer Grambor stole in excess of $900,000 through various unlawful means.

After a thorough and exhaustive investigation, Detective Lopez concluded that Grambor, as payroll manager, had exclusive access to company finances and used her position to unlawfully issue payroll checks to herself and family members.

Grambor was arrested without incident and processed at the Union County Sheriff’s Office. Her first court appearance is scheduled to take place on August 31, 2022.

This investigation is ongoing. Anyone with further information about this or similar incidents involving Jennifer Grambor is being urged to contact Union County Prosecutor’s Office Detective Alex Lopez at 908-527-4933.

Convictions on charges of this nature are commonly punishable by sentences of up to 10 years in state prison.

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

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Winfield Park man found guilty in slashing man’s throat outside of Rahway bar

Michael G. Johnston

A Union County jury has returned a guilty verdict against a man who slashed the throat of a Rahway man last year, Union County First Assistant Prosecutor James O. Tansey announced today.  

Michael G. Johnston, 45, of Winfield Park was found guilty last Thursday on one count each of second-degree aggravated assault, third-degree aggravated assault with a deadly weapon, third-degree possession of a weapon for unlawful purposes and fourth-degree unlawful possession of a weapon following a two week trial before Union County Superior Court Judge Robert Kirsch.  The jury deliberated for approximately three hours before returning its verdict. 

At approximately 1:45 a.m. on August 30, 2021, A Rahway Police Department patrol unit was in the area of CVS on the 800 Block of Saint George’s Avenue when he was approached by a 25 year-old male who was bleeding from his neck, according to Union County Assistant Prosecutor Melissa Caparruva who prosecuted the case.  The victim was stabilized and transported to University Hospital where he was treated for non-life-threatening injuries, Caparruva stated.

An investigation led by Detectives from the Rahway Police Department quickly resulted in Johnston being identified as a suspect in the case.  Soon thereafter, he was arrested at his home in Winfield Park and remanded to the County Jail pending the outcome of the trial.

At trial, it was revealed that Johnston and the victim were at Butch Kowal’s Tavern in Rahway, when there was a verbal confrontation outside of the bar.  This verbal dispute ended with Johnston attacking the victim with a knife, causing two lacerations to the victim’s throat and one to his wrist.  Witnesses, physical evidence and video surveillance in the area presented over the course of the trial were able to definitively pinpoint Johnston as the attacker, Caparruva said

Sentencing has been scheduled for Friday, September 30, 2022 before Judge Kirsch, at which time Johnston can face a sentence of up to ten years in State Prison with an 85% period of mandatory parole ineligibility pursuant to the State’s No Early Release Act (NERA).

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Linden man arrested for committing sexual offenses against three minors and one adult

Johan A. Osorno

A Linden man has been charged after having committed several sexual acts with three separate children and one adult victim dating back to 2018, Union County Prosecutor William A. Daniel and Linden Police Chief David Hart, jointly announced Thursday.

Johan A. Osorno, 35, of Linden, has been charged with one count of second-degree sexual assault, two counts of second-degree endangering the welfare of a child, one count of third-degree endangering the welfare of a child, two counts of fourth-degree criminal sexual contact and one count of fourth-degree attempted criminal sexual contact.

In late June, the Linden Police Department received a report of the sexual assault upon one male and one female minor, which was referred to the Prosecutor’s Office’s Special Victims Unit. During the course of that investigation the Special Victims Unit learned that there were an additional two victims. The first was an adult female who reported being molested as a minor between 2018 and 2020 according to Assistant Prosecutor Bryan Tiscia, who is prosecuting the case. An additional female victim was also uncovered who was an adult at the time that she was abused by Osorno, Tiscia added.

Osorno was arrested without incident on June 27th and lodged in the Essex County Jail. After a pretrial detention hearing in Union County Superior Court, he was subsequently ordered to be detained pending the disposition of these matters.

This investigation is ongoing, and anyone with further information about Osorno is being urged to contact Union County Prosecutor’s Office Special Victims Unit Detective Craig Famoso at (908) 578-1036.

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Authorities Seek Public’s Help in Solving Decade Old Homicide of Linden Teen

Amber Duncan-Wilson

The Union County Homicide Task Force and Linden Police Department continue to investigate the shooting death of an 18-year-old Linden woman who was killed ten years ago, Union County Prosecutor William A. Daniel and Linden Police Chief David Hart jointly announced today.

At 11:55 p.m. on July 9, 2012 the Linden Police were called to the 500 block of Hussa Street following reports of an argument and gunfire, said Daniel. When they arrived, officers discovered 18 –year-old Amber Duncan-Wilson dead at the scene from an apparent gunshot wound.

Members of the Task Force and Linden Police Department learned that Ms. Wilson was walking from a local Dunkin’ Donuts with a friend when she was approached and robbed. During the robbery, words were exchanged and the young woman, who had graduated Linden High School just days earlier, was shot.

Ms. Wilson was a young, ambitious woman, who had a meaningful life ahead of her,” Prosecutor Daniel said. “Sadly, that life was senselessly lost at such a young age and we remain as firmly committed today as we did ten years ago in finding this cold-blooded killer and to bringing justice for her and her loved ones.

Investigators continue to seek leads and ask for the public’s help in obtaining any information that could assist in solving this tragic case. Members of the public are urged to contact the Union County Prosecutor’s Office Homicide Task Force at 908-527-4500 or Linden Police Detective Sergeant Travis

Koziol at 908-474-8542. Further, anyone with information regarding the shooting may anonymously phone in tips to Union County Crime Stoppers at (908) 654-TIPS or online at www.uctip.org. Information that leads to the arrest and indictment of the person or persons responsible for the death of Amber Duncan-Wilson are eligible for a reward of up to $10,000.

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Man Pleads Guilty to Murdering his Girlfriend

Jamar Webber

On Tuesday, a Union man, charged in shooting the death of his girlfriend last March, pled guilty and is facing a 30 year prison sentence, Union County Prosecutor William A. Daniel announced today.

Jamar Webber, 21 of Union, pleaded guilty Tuesday to one count of first-degree murder in the death of 19-year-old Malikah Taylor of Newark, before Union County Superior Court Judge Regina Caulfield.

On the early morning of March 7, 2021 members of the Union Police Department, responding to a home on the 2100 block of Melrose Parkway near the corner of Hillcrest Terrace North, found Taylor unresponsive at that location having sustained serious injury from several gunshot wounds, according to Union County Assistant Prosecutor Robert Grady, who is prosecuting the case. Taylor was rushed to Newark’s University Hospital, where she was pronounced dead shortly before 8 a.m.

Sentencing in the case has been scheduled for Friday, September 23, 2022, at which time Webber will be facing a term of up to 30 years in state prison without the possibility of parole.

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Narcotics Investigation Yields Cache of Narcotics and Handguns

A joint investigation by the Union County Prosecutor’s Office’s Major Crimes Division Opioid Task Force and the Linden Police Department has led to the arrest of fivemen and the seizure of Fentanyl, two handguns and currency Union County Prosecutor William A. Daniel and Linden Police Chief David Hart announced today.

Search and arrest warrants were executed on June 20th in the pre-dawn hours on across the State in Phillipsburg, Middlesex Borough and on homes in Linden on the 1100 block of Charles Street and the 1000 block of Hussa Street, according to Assistant Prosecutors Peter DeRose and Megan Tomlinson, who are prosecuting the case. Approximately 100 grams of raw fentanyl, hundreds of items of drug paraphernalia and packaging materials, two handguns and over $4,000 in cash was seized during the operation.  The three-month investigation and execution of the subsequent search and arrest warrants led to the arrests of:

Jawwaad Butler, 43 of Phillipsburg, who was charged with first-degree leader of a narcotics trafficking network and third-degree conspiracy to distribute a controlled dangerous substance (CDS).

Justin Williams, 42 of Middlesex Borough, who was charged with second-degree possession with of fentanyl with the intent to distribute, third-degree conspiracy to distribute a controlled dangerous substance, third-degree possession of controlled dangerous substance, second-degree possession of a firearm while committing a CDS offense, second-degree certain persons not to possess a weapon, and fourth-degree possession of a large capacity magazine.

William Randle, 58 of Linden, who was charged with third-degree conspiracy to distribute a controlled dangerous substance and third-degree possession of controlled dangerous substance.

Dameon Little, 50 of Linden who was charged with third-degree conspiracy to distribute a controlled dangerous substance and third-degree possession of controlled dangerous substance.

Clifford Jones, 35 of Linden who was charged with second-degree unlawful possession of a firearm, third-degree possession of controlled dangerous substance and fourth-degree possession of a large capacity magazine.

The five men were taken into custody during the operation.  Little, Jones and Randle were subsequently released on Pre-trial Monitoring pending their next Court appearance while Butler and Williams remain incarcerated pending the outcome of the case, Tomlinson and DeRose said.

“I am extremely grateful to Chief Hart and the members of the Linden Police Department and the Prosecutor’s Office for their efforts throughout this investigation,” said Prosecutor Daniel. “Together with the extensive collaboration with our partner local, state, and federal law enforcement agencies, our tireless efforts to diminish the devastating impact of opioids and guns in the communities we serve continue.”

This multi-agency investigation included collaboration and support from the Drug Enforcement Agency Newark Field Division, the New Jersey State Police Electronic Surveillance Unit, the Elizabeth Police DepartmentEmergency Services Unit, the Cranford Police Department, Springfield Police Department, Roselle Park Police Department, the Union County Sheriff’s Office and the Hoboken Police Department. The Union County SWAT Team and the SWAT Teams of both Middlesex County and Warren County assisted with the execution of the search warrants.

Convictions on first-degree criminal charges are commonly punishable by 10 to 20 years, second-degree criminal charges are commonly punishable by 5 to 10 years, third-degree crimes can result in 3 to 5 years, and fourth-degree convictions up to 18 months.

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