A Union County grand jury has returned an indictment against three men charged in connection with a gang-related fatal shooting that took place in Elizabeth a little more than two years ago, acting Union County Prosecutor Grace H. Park announced Tuesday.
Juan Delgado and Felix Rivera, both 18, and 21-year-old Juan Barraza each is charged with murder, conspiracy to commit murder, two related weapons offenses, and gang criminality. Barraza was additionally charged with a count of promotion of criminal street gangs. Delgado and Rivera were both juveniles at the time of the incident, but were waived up to be tried as adults.
On April 22, 2015, Elizabeth Police Department patrol units found the body of 18-year-old Oscar Antonio Martinez Alvarez near a stretch of railroad tracks close to the 300 block of Court Street in Elizabeth, according to Union County Assistant Prosecutor Colleen Ruppert, who is prosecuting the case. Alvarez was pronounced dead at the scene, having suffered multiple gunshot wounds.
An investigation involving the Union County Homicide Task Force, the Elizabeth Police Department, and the Union County Sheriff’s Office Crime Scene Unit resulted in the three defendants being identified as suspects in the case, and Rivera and Barazza were arrested without incident at their Elizabeth homes on June 24, 2015. Delgado was apprehended in Virginia a short time later and extradited back to New Jersey.
Convictions on charges of this nature are commonly punishable by terms of up to life in state prison.
These criminal charges are mere accusations. Each defendant is presumed innocent until proven guilty in a court of law.