Newark Men Sentenced for Roles in Union Township Robberies

A pair of Newark men have been sentenced to a combined 12 years in state prison for their roles in two robberies that took place on the same day last year, including one that occurred in a Union High School parking lot, acting Union County Prosecutor Grace H. Park announced Monday.

Dwayne Chester and Elijah Bonilla, both 20, received sentences of seven and five years, respectively, from Superior Court Judge Regina Caulfield on Friday. Under the terms of New Jersey’s No Early Release Act, each must serve at least 85 percent of his sentence before becoming eligible for parole.

The date was February 22, 2013 when Chester and Bonilla exited their vehicle and approached two juveniles in the Union High School parking lot, according to Union County Assistant Prosecutor Andrew Olesnycky, who prosecuted the case. Threatening the use of a firearm, the defendants ordered the victims to hand over their jackets and a cell phone, after which the men returned to their vehicle with the items and drove away, Olesnycky said.

Shortly thereafter, the pair were driving on the 1000 block of Burnett Avenue in Union Township when Chester exited the vehicle and threatened to shoot two other juveniles if they didn’t hand over items of value. The two victims refused, and Chester responded by punching both in the face, Olesnycky said.

Chester and Bonilla were arrested later that same day in Hillside. The two men pleaded guilty in the case in November 2013.