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Somerset Man Charged Following Golf Tournament

A Somerset County man was arrested and charged last week after he assaulted a Scotch Plains teenager following the Barclays Golf Tournament, authorities announced.

According to the investigation, Demesvar Jean-Baptiste DOB: 1/3/1973 of Watchung had attended the golf tournament on August 23, 2011 and paid to park his car at a residence near the tournament grounds, according to Assistant Prosecutor Michael Cleaver, who is prosecuting the case.

Around 7 p.m. Jean-Baptiste knocked on the door of a Raritan Road house in Scotch Plains that he mistakenly believed was where he parked his car earlier in the day, said Cleaver. A 14-year-old boy who answered the door at the residence, informed Jean-Baptiste that he had the wrong house.

At that point, according to the investigation, Jean-Baptiste forced his way inside the home, assaulted the boy and threatened to kill him, everyone in the residence and burn the house down, said Cleaver.

The boy was able to escape Jean-Baptiste’s grasp and made it to a neighbor’s house where the police were called. According to police reports, officers found Jean-Baptiste several doors away and detected the strong odor of alcohol on his breath.

He was taken into custody and later charged with 2nd Degree Burglary, 3rd Degree Terroristic Threats and 3rd Degree Aggravated Assault. He was released on $130,000 bail.

These criminal charges are mere accusations. The defendants are presumed innocent until proven guilty in a court of law.

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Plainfield Man Convicted

A Plainfield man was convicted on several charges earlier today, including 2nd Degree eluding, 3rd Degree aggravated assault with a deadly weapon and 4th Degree Aggravated Assault on a police officer.

Eugene Lawton DOB: 8/20/1965 was found guilty following a bench trial before Superior Court Judge Stuart Peim, said Assistant Prosecutor Ann Marie Gibbons who prosecuted the case.

According to the investigation, Lawton was driving with a suspended license on Rt. 78 West in Berkeley Heights on July 16, 2010 when a New Jersey State Trooper attempted to pull him over. Lawton gave chase through five towns in both Union and Somerset Counties, said Gibbons. At one point in the pursuit, he drove his vehicle at a high rate of speed towards a trooper who was on foot. The chase ended after police lost sight of Lawton’s vehicle. He was arrested a day later by the New Jersey State Police.

Lawton faces up to 20 years in prison when he is sentenced on December 16, 2011.

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Prosecutor

Results of MusicFest Investigation

The Union County Prosecutor’s Office has concluded a five-month investigation concerning the 2010 MusicFest. The Prosecutor has determined there was insufficient evidence to warrant any criminal charges. In a letter to newly appointed County Manager Alfred Faella the Prosecutor strongly criticized the County and those responsible for the planning and management of the 2010 MusicFest.

The Prosecutor also made recommendations for any future events to insure transparency, proper management and to avoid any appearance of conflict. Attached is a copy of the letter and exhibits forwarded to Mr. Faella.

Click here to view the report

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Prosecutor

Plainfield Gang Members Charged

The Union County Homicide Task Force has a member of the MS13 street gang with a 2009 homicide in the city of Plainfield, announced Prosecutor Theodore Romankow. Additionally, two other gang members were charged in two other instances of violence in the city.

Yesterday, complaints were signed for Julian Moz-Aguilar, DOB 07-23-1987, of West Third Street, Plainfield NJ, who is already in custody at the Union County Jail. The charges stem from the February 08, 2009, homicide of Christian Tigsi, which occurred in the area of 209 North Avenue, Plainfield NJ. Moz-Aguilar is a member of the Plainfield MS13 group that was arrested following an investigation this past July in Plainfield. He is being held at the Union County Jail on $1 million bail.

Additinally, Josi A. Romero-Aguirre, DOB 04-27-1987, of Somerset Pl, North Plainfield, NJ and Esau Ramirez, DOB 05-04-1991, of West Front St, Plainfield NJ, were charged with conspiracy to commit murder, weapon possession, Ramirez was already in custody at the Union County Jail and is being held on $1 million bail. Romero-Aguirre was arrested around 3:45 p.m. yesterday in North Plainfield and is being held at the Union County Jail on $500,000 bail.

Finally, Ruben A. Portillo-Fuentes, DOB 01-08-1992, of Madison Avenue, Plainfield NJ, was charged with attempted murder, possession of weapon and unlawful possession of a weapon for the May 7, 2011, shooting in the area of the 700 block of West Third Street, Plainfield, NJ. He is being held on $1 million bail.

These criminal charges are mere accusations. The defendants are presumed innocent until proven guilty in a court of law.

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Prosecutor

Plainfield Man Sentenced on Drug Charges

A Plainfield man was sentenced to 20 years in state prison yesterday having been found guilty of drug charges in March said Prosecutor Theodore J. Romankow.

Harry Caver, 40, was convicted on all charges, Distribution of a Controlled Dangerous Substance, Distribution of a Controlled Dangerous Substance within 500 feet of a Public Housing Facility, Hindering Apprehension, and Obstruction the Administration of Law.  These charges stemmed from August 5, 2009 where defendant distributed heroin to multiple individuals in the City of Plainfield, said Assistant Prosecutor Brent Bramnick, who prosecuted the case.

According to the investigation, Caver, was observed by Plainfield Police Officers distributing drugs to multiple individuals in the area of Liberty Street and West Fourth Street in Plainfield.  When the officers tried to arrest Caver, he ingested the drugs he had in his possession, and fled, said Bramnick.

Caver was found guilty of the charges after approximately a half hour of deliberations and a two-day trial before Union County Superior Court Judge Robert J. Mega.

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Prosecutor

Task Force Investigating Linden Homicide

The Union County Homicide Task Force and the Linden Police Department are investigating the shooting death of a city resident that occurred late last night, said Prosecutor Theodore J. Romankow.

Kason Wilson DOB: 2/26/1987 was shot several times at 913 Union Avenue and was pronounced dead around 11:00 p.m. last night. No arrests have been made.

This is an active investigation and anyone with information is urged to contact Union County Crime Stoppers at (908) 654-TIPS or www.uctip.org. All calls are kept anonymous and tips that lead to the arrest and indictment of a suspect are eligible for a cash reward of up to $5,000.

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Cranford Police Officer Arrested

A Cranford Police Officer was charged and arrested over the weekend for 4th Degree criminal sexual contact and 2nd Degree official misconduct, authorities announced today.

Following an investigation by the internal affairs bureau of the Cranford Police Department, Brian Thomas DOB: 7/25/1974 turned himself into authorities on Friday, said Prosecutor Theodore Romankow.

Thomas is accused of assaulting a woman while on duty and in uniform on June 22, 2011.

Chief Eric Mason of the Cranford Police Department said Thomas, a 12-year veteran of the department and a 16-year member of law enforcement, was suspended without pay following his arrest.

Thomas was lodged in the Union County Jail on $150,000 bail.

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Task Force Investigating Elizabeth Shooting

The Union County Homicide Task Force is investigating the shooting death of an Elizabeth man who was shot earlier this afternoon. The shooting took place around 2:15 pm, on South Park Street, said Prosecutor Theodore J. Romankow.

When officers arrived at the scene they discovered the victim suffering from several gunshot wounds and was pronounced dead at the scene a short time later.

The victim has been identified, but his identity is being withheld pending notification of his family, said Romankow.

This is an active investigation and no motive has been established. Anyone with information is urged to contact Union County Crime Stoppers at (908) 654-TIPS or www.uctip.org.

All calls are kept anonymous and tips that lead to the arrest and indictment of a suspect are eligible for a cash reward of up to $5,000.

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Task Force Investigating 12th Homicide of the Year in Elizabeth

The Union County Homicide Task Force is investigating a shooting death that occurred in the city of Elizabeth on Wednesday evening, said Prosecutor Theodore J. Romankow.

Around 10:30 p.m. on August 11, 2011 officers responded to the 1000 block of Elizabeth Avenue where they discovered 23-tyear-old Charles Holmes of Linden suffering from gunshot wounds. Holmes was inside a car with several other people who were not injured. The victim was transported to Trinitas Hospital where he was pronounced dead around 10:52 p.m., said Romankow.

The Task Force is examining evidence and continues to take witness statements in an effort to identify a suspect. At this point investigators believe the shooting was gang related. This is the 12th homicide to occur in the city of Elizabeth so far this year.

Anyone with information is urged to contact Union County Crime Stoppers at (908) 654-TIPS or www.uctip.org. All calls are kept anonymous and tips that lead to the arrest and indictment of a suspect are eligible for a cash reward of up to $5,000.

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Prosecutor

Man Charged in Plainfield Shooting

 

Early Tuesday morning members of the Union County Homicide Task Force and the United States Marshall’s Service arrested a Plainfield man who was charged with a “certain persons” offense after shooting a man at his home last week, said Union County Prosecutor Theodore J. Romankow.

At approximately 12:30am on Tuesday, Jeff Thrasybule was arrested in Brooklyn, said Romankow. Thrasybule was wanted in connection with the death of Irvin Robert Pierre Louis that occurred in Plainfield at 825 West 4th Street on July 31, 2011,

On that date, authorities were called Thrasybule’s house and discovered Louis, DOB: 1/17/1986, had been shot several times. The circumstances that led to the shooting remain under investigation.

Thrasybule, is not permitted to own a firearm and as such has been charged with 2nd Degree “certain persons” was in possession of a gun at the time of the shooting. He was charged after the shooting but attempted to elude authorities for several days until his arrest on Tuesday morning.

This remains an active investigation.