A Union County jury has returned a guilty verdict against the Hillside man charged with killing his girlfriend following an argument a little more than three years ago, acting Union County Prosecutor Lyndsay V. Ruotolo and Hillside Police Chief Vincent Ricciardi jointly announced Monday.
The jury deliberated for approximately 45 minutes late last week before convicting 25-year-old Emannuel Dike of the murder of 20-year-old Christa Capers of Jersey City. The verdict came after three days of trial testimony before Union County Superior Court Judge Candido Rodriguez, Jr.
Hillside Police Department officers responding to a report of an unresponsive female found Capers in an apartment on the 1500 block of Schley Street on Thursday, October 20, 2016, according to Union County Assistant Prosecutor Albert Cernadas, Jr., who prosecuted the case. She was pronounced dead at the scene.
An autopsy performed by the Union County Medical Examiner’s Office revealed a cause and manner of death of strangulation and homicide, respectively. A fast-moving investigation involving the Union County Homicide Task Force, Hillside Police Department, Union County Sheriff’s Office Crime Scene Unit, and additional municipal police departments, resulted in Dike being identified as a suspect in the case, and following an intensive multi-day search spanning multiple states, Dike’s vehicle was located by a Hillside police officer at a Holiday Inn on Routes 1&9 in Newark. Shortly thereafter, he was located and taken into custody, with bail set at $1 million by Union County Superior Court Judge Frederic R. McDaniel.
At trial, it was revealed that after killing Capers following their argument, Dike fled the scene, turned off his cell phone, withdrew $1,500 in cash from his bank account, and cut off contact with his friends and family. A statement he gave to investigators after his arrest, during which he admitted placing his hands around Capers’s neck, was introduced as evidence.
Sentencing in the case is tentatively scheduled to take place late next month, at which time Dike will face a term of up to life in state prison.