Two men – one who was convicted at trial and another who pled guilty – were sentenced to State Prison Friday for their roles in the beating death of 28-year-old Oscar Melara of Elizabeth in 2019, Union County Prosecutor William A. Daniel announced today.
Union County Superior Court Judge Candido Rodriguez, Jr. sentenced Laquan McCall, 31 – who was convicted at trial of second-degree manslaughter in November of last year — to an extended term of 16 years in State Prison. Convictions on second-degree crimes normally carry a term of between 5 and 10 years, but based on McCall’s prior criminal history, Judge Rodriguez ordered that McCall be sentenced as a persistent offender and imposed the 16 year sentence, directing that McCall must serve at least 85% of that sentence before being eligible for parole. Judge Rodriguez also sentenced Christopher Elliott – who pled guilty as an accomplice to third-degree aggravated assault in December – to 3 years in State Prison.
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 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, Caliendo and Reyes added.
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. After McCall’s conviction, Elliott admitted to acting as an accomplice by driving McCall from the scene after the attack.