Middlesex County man sentenced to 42 years for Plainfield murder

A Middlesex County man has been sentenced to 42 years in state prison for fatally shooting a Plainfield resident following an argument in 2011, acting Union County Prosecutor Grace H. Park announced Friday.

Malcolm Bradley, 27, of Edison was sentenced Friday before state Superior Court Judge Stuart Peim, who described the killing of 31-year-old Curtis Stroud as a “callous, brutal execution.” Bradley must serve at least 85 percent of his sentence before the possibility of parole under the provisions of New Jersey’s No Early Release Act.

A Union County jury had returned guilty verdicts against Bradley in November 2015 following a three-week trial and deliberations that took place over the course of three days, convicting him on charges of murder, possession of a weapon for an unlawful purpose, and criminal restraint.

The date was March 16, 2011 when Bradley and Stroud engaged in a verbal dispute at a restaurant on the corner of Park Avenue and East Fifth Street in Plainfield, according to Union County Assistant Prosecutor Colleen Ruppert, who prosecuted the case.

A short while later, Bradley followed Stroud to the area of Berckman Street and South Avenue in Plainfield, where he shot Stroud as he was seated in the back seat of a friend’s car, Ruppert said. Stroud’s friends transported him to the emergency room at Muhlenberg Hospital, where he was pronounced dead a short while later.

An intensive joint investigation by the Union County Homicide Task Force, Union County Sheriff’s Office, and Plainfield Police Division quickly resulted in Bradley being identified as a suspect in the case, and he was arrested in Edison and charged a little more than a week later.