Aggravated assault defendant being sought after fleeing during jury deliberations

RodriguezA Bergen County man is being sought by authorities after fleeing while a jury deliberated on his trial for aggravated assault, acting Union County Prosecutor Grace H. Park announced Friday.

Angel Serpa Rodriguez, 35, of Fort Lee was convicted Wednesday of second-degree aggravated assault, third-degree aggravated assault with a deadly weapon, and third- and fourth-degree weapons charges. Rodriguez had been free on $85,000 bail during his five-day trial.

The date was March 3, 2011 when Rodriguez followed a man outside of Freitas Tavern on 2nd Avenue in Elizabeth and waited until the man was alone, according to Union County Assistant Prosecutor Meghan Tomlinson, who prosecuted the case. Rodriguez then broke a glass he had been carrying and slashed the man in the face with a jagged piece of glass, Tomlinson said.

The victim made his way back inside the tavern, at which time Rodriguez pursued him and stabbed him repeatedly in the head before a group of patrons pulled him away. Rodriguez was arrested shortly thereafter and indicted in July 2011.

Rodriguez is expected to face a sentence of up to 10 years in state prison when he is recaptured, with at least 85 percent of that term to be served before the possibility of parole. He was last seen in Elizabeth on Wednesday, and he is believed to have traveled to the area of West New York in Hudson County before heading for points south.

The Union County Prosecutor’s Office, Union County Sheriff’s Office, Union County Police Department, and U.S. Marshals Service are all actively involved in the search for Mr. Rodriguez. Anyone who may have seen him during recent days, or anyone with information about his whereabouts, is being urged to contact the Sheriff’s Office Fugitive Unit at 908-527-4480 between the hours of 6 a.m. and 11:30 p.m., or the Union County Police Department at 908-654-9800 at all other times.

The Union County Crime Stoppers also are offering a reward of up to $5,000 for information leading to Rodriguez’s arrest and subsequent indictment; tips can be given anonymously by phone at 908-654-TIPS (8477), via text message by texting “UCTIP” plus a message to 274637 (CRIMES), or online at