Elizabeth man admits to murder, attempted murder, criminal sexual contact

A local man has admitted to fatally strangling one woman and trying to kill another in the same manner at an Elizabeth apartment building a little more than six years ago, acting Union County Prosecutor Lyndsay V. Ruotolo announced Friday.

Arlie Rodriguez, 47, pleaded guilty during a court hearing held earlier this week before Union County Superior Court Judge Robert Kirsch.

At approximately 10:50 p.m. on Tuesday, May 8, 2013, members of the Elizabeth Police Department responded to the 100 block of Madison Avenue in Elizabeth on a report of an assault, according to Union County Assistant Prosecutor Bruce Holmes, who prosecuted the case.

There, investigators found the body of a woman later identified as Patricia Parham-Hayward, 48, with a garment wrapped around her neck, as well as a second female, then 59, who had sustained serious injuries, Holmes said.

An investigation involving Elizabeth Police Department Detectives Ray Smith and David DeRose, Prosecutor’s Office Capt. Harvey Barnwell, and Prosecutor’s Agent Vincent Byron of the Union County Homicide Task Force, ultimately revealed that a man later identified as Rodriguez spoke with Parham-Hayward on the phone just minutes prior to visiting her apartment, then entered a room with her. When Rodriguez then left the room alone moments later, he attacked Parham-Hayward’s friend.

The gathered evidence proving Rodriguez’s guilt included phone records, video surveillance footage, and DNA pulled from two cigarette butts and an article of clothing collected from the crime scene and later analyzed by Forensic Scientist Monica Ghannam of the Union County Forensics Laboratory. 

Rodriguez was criminally charged in July 2018, when he was already in custody on other, unrelated charges. Sentencing in this case has been scheduled for Friday, December 13, 2019, at which time Rodriguez will face a term of 30 years in state prison, with a 30-year period of parole ineligibility.