Elizabeth man convicted in beating death

A Union County jury has returned a guilty verdict against a man who assaulted and and killed a 28-year-old Elizabeth man in July of 2019, Union County Prosecutor William A. Daniel announced today.

Laquan McCall, 31, of Elizabeth, was found guilty Friday on one count each of second-degree manslaughter and second-degree aggravated assault following a two-week trial before Union County Superior Court Judge Candido Rodriguez, Jr.  The jury deliberated for three days before returning its verdict. 

Shortly after 2 a.m. on the morning of Saturday, July 27, 2019, Elizabeth Police Department patrol units responded to a report of an altercation at Ben’s Bar on the 600 block of Meadow Street and found Oscar Melara, 28, who had sustained severe injuries, according to Union County Assistant Prosecutors Alaina Caliendo and Jillian Reyes, who prosecuted the case. Melara was transported to Trinitas Regional Medical Center, where he was pronounced dead.

Testimony presented during the trial revealed that McCall punched the victim approximately four times outside the bar after an altercation, ultimately causing brain injuries that led to Melara’s death.

An investigation by the Union County Homicide Task Force, the Elizabeth Police Department, and the Union County Sheriff’s Office Crime Scene Unit, resulted in McCall being identified, charged and arrested.

Sentencing has been scheduled for Friday, January 27, 2023 before Judge Rodriguez, at which time McCall can face a term of up to ten years in state prison, of which he would be required to serve 85% of that sentence prior to being eligible for parole under the State’s No Early Release Act (NERA).