Elizabeth man indicted for killing neighbor

A Union County grand jury has returned a five-count indictment against an Elizabeth resident accused of fatally shooting a neighbor during a robbery last fall, acting Union County Prosecutor Grace H. Park announced Friday.

Jimmy Kearney, 18, is charged with first-degree felony murder, first-degree murder, first-degree robbery, and two related weapons offenses in connection with the death of 61-year-old Robert Rouse.

Elizabeth Police Department patrol units responded to the 400 block of Walnut Street in Elizabeth shortly before 6 a.m. on Monday, October 31, 2016 to find the body of Rouse, who was pronounced dead at the scene, according to Union County Assistant Prosecutor Armando Suarez, who is prosecuting the case.

An intensive joint investigation by the Union County Homicide Task Force, Union County Prosecutor’s Office High Tech Unit, Elizabeth Police Department, Union County Sheriff’s Office Crime Scene Unit, and Union County Police Department Ballistics Unit quickly resulted in Kearney being identified as a suspect, and he was arrested without incident hours later, Suarez said.

Kearney was lodged in Union County Jail on $750,000 bail set by state Superior Court Judge Regina Caulfield.

Felony murder charges are commonly punishable by 30 years to life in state prison.

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