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Breaking Local News from New Jersey

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    Prosecutors allege Andre Henderson approached Plainfield police officer Israel Valentin and punched him in the face, knocking him to the ground and kicking him repeatedly

    AndreHenderson.jpegAndre Henderson, in a photo from the Department of Corrections website, was indicted today for allegedly beating a Plainfield police officer.
    .

    PLAINFIELD — A grand jury this morning indicted a man on charges he brutally beat a Plainfield police officer in an unprovoked attack in March.

    Andre Henderson, 36, faces life in prison for the attempted murder and aggravated assault charges.

    Prosecutors allege Henderson approached Plainfield police officer Israel Valentin on March 11 and punched him in the face, knocking him to the ground and kicking him repeatedly.

    A good Samaritan came to the officer's rescue, grabbing a baseball bat out of his trunk and hitting the attacker on the back until additional police officers arrived.

    Valentin suffered several broken ribs and serious wounds to his head and body. He was taken to Robert Wood Johnson University Hospital in New Brunswick following the attack.

    At the time of the attack, Union County Prosecutor Theodore Romankow called it the worst attack on a police officer he'd seen as prosecutor. He said there was no reason to believe there was a history between the two men.

    Henderson, who served time in state prison for drug offenses, had been wanted on outstanding warrants out of Plainfield and Fanwood.

    He remains in the Union County Jail in Elizabeth on $1 million bail.

    Related coverage:

    Random attacker severely beats Plainfield cop, chased away by Good Samaritan


    Jeanne McCarthy, 65, of Lawrencville, reportedly paid $7,000 to a professional matchmaking service with the intent of meeting a catch

    holding-hands.jpegJeanne McCarthy, 65, of Lawrencville, reportedly paid $7,000 to a professional matchmaking service with the intent of meeting a catch.

    LAWRENCEVILLE — Many singles would love to be compensated after a bad date and one New Jersey woman is trying to do just that, according to a report by ABC News.

    Jeanne McCarthy, 65, of Lawrenceville, reportedly paid $7,000 to a professional matchmaking service with the intent of meeting a catch. Instead, McCarthy claims she was baited — getting just one date with a man with a rap sheet. Her suitor, she said, had three drunk driving convictions and an outstanding warrant.

    Now McCarthy is suing her local branch of Two of Us, a matchmaking service with 15 locations nationwide. The agency promises to arrange "matches" with the ultimate purpose of fostering “dating relationships” between the two individuals.

    In her lawsuit, McCarthy alleges Two of Us said in an advertisement that it screens its members and performs a criminal background check. She is suing for breach of contract, fraud and consumer fraud, and is also seeking a full refund of her $7,000 plus unspecified punitive damages.

    Ethan Baker, the company’s vice president of operations and general counsel, said Two of Us had yet to be served and therefore could not comment on the specifics of the suit.

    More Mercer County news


    The victim, Samithia C. Jones-Meighoo, was pronounced dead inside her Stone Street home

    newark-police.JPGView full sizeA 21-year-old Newark woman was shot to death inside her home Wednesday night.

    NEWARK — A 21-year-old woman was fatally shot inside her Newark home Wednesday night, the Essex County Prosecutor's Office said today.

    The victim, Samithia C. Jones-Meighoo, was pronounced dead inside her Stone Street home at 7:25 p.m., authorities said.

    The victim's husband discovered the body and called police, authorities said. Their young child was in the home when officers arrived.

    Authorities said responding officers discovered drug paraphernalia inside the home at the time, but would not provide further detail.

    No arrest has been made and the prosecutor's office declined to comment on any other aspect of the investigation.

    The case is being handled by the prosecutor's office homicide/major crimes task force.

    More Essex County news


    Kevin Keogh, 46, a one-time West Orange Democratic councilman, admitted to separate counts of conspiracy and misconduct in Superior Court in Passaic County

    nj-Kevin-Keogh.JPGView full sizeKevin Keogh, 46, a one-time West Orange Democratic councilman, admitted to separate counts of conspiracy and misconduct in Superior Court in Passaic County. He could face up to five years in prison when he returns for sentencing in September

    PASSAIC COUNTY — Whenever Kevin Keogh had a job around the house, it was not hard to find someone to do it for him.

    Christmas decorations?

    Pick up plants and fertilizer?

    Fix the pool pump or snow blower?

    All he had to do is make a call to the office.

    Keogh, 46, a former top administrator at the Passaic Valley Sewerage Commissioners, pleaded guilty Thursday to charges of conspiracy and official misconduct, admitting he used PVSC workers as his own personal handymen for repairs and improvements at his home in Roseland while they were supposed to be on the job.

    "This defendant clearly exploited his subordinates — public employees who were being paid by taxpayers — as free labor for personal projects," said state Attorney General Jeffrey Chiesa.

    A former West Orange Democratic councilman, Keogh was fired from his $186,000-a-year position as superintendent of special services at the regional sewerage authority after his arrest last year with three other PVSC managers.

    He faces up to five years in prison when he returns for sentencing in September. In addition, he was permanently banned from holding any future public employment in New Jersey.

    The criminal charges by the state’s Division of Criminal Justice came following a series of stories in The Star-Ledger last year detailing widespread abuse, sweetheart deals and unchecked patronage at the regional sewerage authority located in Newark. The revelations led to the firing of six of the commission’s seven board members by Gov. Chris Christie, who accused them of using the agency as their own private piggy bank. More than 100 others were also terminated in a major shake-up of an agency long known as a patronage pit for the politically connected.

    Passaic Valley serves more than 1.3 million people, handling the combined sewage of 48 communities in Essex, Bergen, Passaic and Hudson counties.

    In his pleading Thursday afternoon before Superior Court Judge Donald Volkert in Passaic County, Keogh admitted he had employees install kitchen cabinet doors fabricated in a PVSC woodshop. Keogh also said that in 2005, he had mechanics from the PVSC’s vehicle maintenance department remove an old pool pump motor from his swimming pool, and install a new one in its place.

    Keogh admitted using other PVSC employees to run errands for him on agency time, including putting up Christmas decorations at his home, and picking up landscaping items from The Home Depot and Lowe’s — such as plants, fertilizer, decorative stone and pool supplies.

    Others still facing charges in the case are Paul Bazela,45, mayor of the small Bergen County borough of Northvale, who was being paid $109,600 as an operations supervisor for the PVSC until he was fired last year, and Anthony Ardis, 58, of Paterson, a former PVSC commissioner who later served as clerk to the board and its chief ethics officer, who made $214,000 a year before he was terminated. Both are awaiting trial, officials said.

    According to the Attorney General’s office, Bazela — at the direction of Ardis and Keogh — ordered carpenters and other workers to go to the homes of Keogh and Ardis’ mother and girlfriend while on agency time to complete repairs and improvements using agency vehicles and equipment. No one paid for the work, said investigators.

    Another top administrator, Chester Mazza, pleaded guilty last month to charges that he ordered PVSC employees to install a vent or fan in the roof of his home in Totowa and make repairs to a masonry wall while on agency time.

    Mazza, 71, a former state trooper who served as the agency’s assistant superintendent for special services at a salary of $127,000 a year, is expected to be sentenced to a non-custodial term of probation.

    As part of his plea, Mazza was permanently disqualified from public employment and agreed to pay $475 in restitution to the state.

    Others still facing charges in the case include Paul Bazela, 45, mayor of the small Bergen County borough of Northvale, who had been making $109,600 as an operations supervisor for the PVSC until he was fired, and Anthony Ardis, 58, of Paterson, a former PVSC commissioner who later served as clerk to the board and its chief ethics officer, who made $214,000 a year.

    Chester Mazza, 71, of Totowa, a former state trooper who served as the agency’s assistant superintendent for special services at a salary of $127,000 a year, pleaded guilty in May to a single count of fourth degree theft by unlawful taking, officials said today. He is expected to be sentenced to a non-custodial term of probation.

    As part of his plea, Mazza was permanently disqualified from public employment and agreed to pay $475 in restitution.

    According to the state Attorney General’s Office, Bazela — at the direction of Ardis and Keogh — ordered carpenters and other workers he supervised to go to the homes of Keogh and Ardis’ mother and girlfriend while on agency time to complete repairs and improvements using agency vehicles and equipment. The state charged that Mazza, directed two employees for the PVSC to install a vent or fan in the roof of his home in Totowa and make repairs to a masonry wall while on agency time.

    None of those charged paid for the work, said the Attorney General’s office.


    More Passaic Valley Sewerage Commissioners coverage


    Ellen Shane, 62, of Carteret, plans to sue the township for $5 million, claiming it failed to protect public safety and that she was injured as a result of the officer’s acts

    woodbridge-center-mall-shooting-police-car.jpgThe woman held hostage at Woodbridge Center shopping mall plans to sue the township for $5 million, claiming it failed to protect public safety and that she was injured as a result of the officer’s acts.

    WOODBRIDGE — She was grabbed by a desperate parolee and who held her with a knife to her throat in Woodbridge Center Mall until a police officer shot and killed the man.

    Now the woman, Ellen Shane, 62, of Carteret, plans to sue the township for $5 million, claiming it failed to protect public safety and that she was injured as a result of the officer’s acts.

    Both Shane and her husband, Ronald Shane, "are suffering from post traumatic stress syndrome and both have been dramatized from this incident," according to the tort claim notice filed by their lawyer, David Corrigan of Eatontown.

    The claim states the couple are seeking treatment from a psychologist and a psychiatrist.

    Mayor John McCormac stood by the officer’s actions. "No lawsuit will change the fact our officer is a hero for saving her life," he said.

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    On March 8, Andres Garcia, 44, of Paterson, a convicted robber wanted for a parole violation, was fleeing police after a shoplifting incident in the mall. He grabbed Ellen Shane by her hair, pulled her away from her husband, held a knife to her throat and dragged her to the Sears store.

    As Garcia held her, uniformed Woodbridge police Officer Edward Barrett Jr. who was working a security detail at the mall, shot the parolee in the head.

    Court papers filed with the township state Garcia told the officer he would harm Ellen Shane if not allowed to leave.

    "Instead of attempting to resolve the situation, Barrett took out his gun and shot the suspect while he was holding Mrs. Shane," the paper states.

    It alleges township police, Barrett in particular, failed to provide proper safeguards or warning, violated state, county and local policies pertaining to shoplifting and were negligent in hiring, training and supervising personnel.

    Ronald Shane, reached at home today, said neither he nor his wife could comment. "She’s under medical treatment," he said.


    Related coverage:

    Shooting at Woodbridge Center mall: Alleged shoplifter shot, killed by police; customers run for cover


    Maplewood police responded to the Maplewood Community Pool on Boyden Avenue shortly before 7 p.m. Wednesday on a report of a small dog panting inside a car,

    84691313CM001_CHAMPION_DOGS.JPGA 55-year-old Maplewood man faces animal cruelty charges for leaving his 'hot dog'-type dog in the car in the sweltering heat Wednesday. Pictured is a dachshund from the133rd Annual Westminster Kennel Club Dog Show.

    MAPLEWOOD — It could have been a deadly combination: a hot dog in a hot car.

    Maplewood police responded to the Maplewood Community Pool on Boyden Avenue shortly before 7 p.m. Wednesday on a report of a small dog panting inside a car, Capt. John Perna said today.

    When responding officers arrived, they found a small "hot dog" type dog inside a Volkswagen with its windows rolled up in the pool parking lot, Perna said.

    They ran the license plates and contacted the owner who was inside the pool, according to Perna.

    Perna declined to identify the 55-year-old Maplewood man but said animal cruelty charges are forthcoming.

    Once contacted, the man "came out and rectified the situation," Perna said. It was not immediately clear how long the dog had been inside the car.

    Police estimated the outside temperature was about 94 degrees, but according to Perna it was likely much hotter inside the Volkswagen.

    "I would think it would be because the windows were up, but I can't give an estimate of that," he said.

    A patron heading into the pool reported the dog inside the car, Perna said.

    UNCONSCIOUS DOG IN NEWARK

    In Newark this afternoon, where the temperature climbed to 98 degrees, city animal control officer Arthur Skinner said he came across a mixed-breed dog that went unconscious after overheating to 107.5 degrees.

    Skinner responded to a home on Brill Street around 2 p.m. and discovered a dog that had suffered heat stroke.

    Apparently, a man who was suppose to be the caretaker had left the dog outside and the female owner was unaware but became furious when she learned her dog had been caged outdoors for about six hours with no water, Skinner said.

    By the afternoon, Skinner said he had already responded to three heat-related emergencies in the city.

    "The dog was passed out," said Skinner who rushed the dog to the Associated Humane Societies in Newark. "The doc was like, I'm surprised the dog is still alive."

    More Maplewood news

    More heat wave coverage


    The girl was a member of the track team when the alleged assault took place in 2006

    passaic-high.jpgA street view of Passaic High School. The school's head track and field coach was charged with sexually assaulting a student in 2006.

    PASSAIC — The head track and field coach at Passaic High School has been suspended without pay after being charged with sexually assaulting a former student, according to a report on NorthJersey.com.

    King Jamol Perry III, 38, of Passaic committed the alleged assault against the girl in 2006 when she was a member of the track team. Perry was an assistant coach at the time.

    Perry, who was released on $100,000 bail, is also charged with official misconduct and endangering the welfare of a child, the report said.

    More Passaic County news


    Many in this small rural community say they are torn by the two divergent pictures of Pegg emerging since his death - a man called a "trail angel" for his kindness to hikers, and a man who some say preyed on children

    stillwater-mugs.jpgClark Fredericks, left, 47, of Fredon and Robert Reynolds, 47, of Hackettstown have been charged in connection with the killing.

    By Amy Ellis Nutt and Seth Augenstein/The Star-Ledger

    NEWTON — Friends and family trickled, slow-motion, through the suffocating heat into the Smith-McCracken Funeral Home in Newton Thursday afternoon. They came in twos and threes, in suits and ties and in sleeveless black undershirts, from New Jersey, New York and Pennsylvania, for the wake of their friend and relative, 68-year-old Dennis Pegg, murdered 10 days ago in his Stillwater home.

    Some wiped away tears. Others watched a loop of photos from throughout Pegg’s life play on a laptop.

    Just hours earlier, however, the release of the arrest report of the alleged killer, Clark Fredericks, 46, of Fredon, hinted at a darker side to Pegg’s life.

    Fredericks, according to his mother, was sexually molested by Pegg when the older man was a Boy Scout leader and Fredericks a scout in Pegg’s local troop. After his arrest, according to the affidavit, Fredericks told police that Pegg "got what was coming to him," adding that Pegg had "been a child molester for years."

    Fredericks has been charged with first-degree murder. A friend, 47-year-old Robert Reynolds of Hackettstown, has also been charged as an accomplice.

    Fredericks’ attorney, Daniel Perez, would not comment on his client’s statements in the affidavit, saying he did not want to impede the investigation by law enforcement. Perez, however, said he did want to encourage "anyone who may have information related to the case to come forward," especially anyone who might have been victimized by Pegg.

    A source close to the case has, in fact, confirmed that "at least one other molestation victim has come forward."

    Rumors of a protest at Pegg’s wake caused police to set up orange barricades in front of the First Presbyterian Church across the street and about 100 feet down from the funeral home, None, however, showed up.

    Instead, under a broiling second-day-of-summer sun, dozens of people arrived at Smith-McCracken throughout the afternoon and at least another 100 attended the evening wake.
    Gallery preview

    In the long cool room where Pegg’s body lay in an open casket, a heart-shaped bouquet of red-and-white flowers was prominently displayed emblazoned with the words "Beloved Friend."

    Nearby, a tattered straw hat bearing the name "Desperado" was perched on a pedestal. Taken from the eponymous soft-rock song, Desperado was Pegg’s nickname out on the Appalachian Trail, according to friends, where he often helped out hikers in need.

    On a table alongside a laptop that played a continuous loop of photos of Pegg, was a framed photo of children in yellow T-shirts grinning at the camera. Underneath, a boy had written neatly, "I love you Mr. Denny. I miss you. You really helped me become a better birder. Thank you. - Chuckie."

    A retired officer with the county corrections, Pegg belonged to many police, civic, scouting and nature organizations, including the New Jersey Audubon Society. He was also a past president of the Sussex County Bird Club and a 30-yaer member of the Nature Conservancy.

    Many in this small rural community say they are torn by the two divergent pictures of Pegg emerging since his death — a man called a "trail angel" for his benevolence to hikers, and a man who some say preyed on children.

    Tom Walsh, an Andover committeeman, said Thursday many people knew "Denny" and that "You always heard the whispers," about being gay or always being surrounded by young children. "But he was such a nice guy, you never paid much attention."

    Fredericks, the man accused of stabbing 68-year-old Dennis Pegg to death and Reynolds, his alleged accomplice, remain behind bars on $350,000 bond.

    Thor Stender, the owner of the Tuscany Bistro in Newton, said yesterday Fredericks was drinking wine at the bar the night of Pegg’s murder. He spent less than an hour in the bistro, leaving after an argument over money with a business associate, according to Stender. Fredericks then went to a bar called The Greek’s about two miles away where bartender Teddy Rabidis said he "chatted a little bit, about normal stuff, nothing serious," and left around 9 p.m.

    What happened over the next couple of hours is unclear. Reynolds, according the arrest affidavit, told state troopers that later that night the two men, armed with knives, drove to Pegg’s small cottage and upon entering the older man’s home, Fredericks "immediately began stabbing Dennis Pegg."

    The pair then used Reynolds’ van, which Reynolds later power-washed according to the document, to make their escape.

    Fredericks’ mother, Joan, told The Star-Ledger last week her son admitted, years after the fact, to being sexually abused by Pegg. In the affidavit, police say it was Fredericks’ mother, Joan, who told authorities her son returned to her Stillwater home sometime around 2 a.m. on the 13th, where he removed his bloodied clothing and hid the garments, along with the knives. At the time, Joan Fredericks urged her son, who incurred lacerations to his left hand during the attack, to go to the hospital for treatment. Instead, he took sleeping medication and went to bed.

    Sometime later in the morning Joan Fredericks called a counselor in Franklin who treated her for several years. The counselor, Diane Howe, met with Clark Fredericks’ sister Wednesday morning. The woman told Howe she believed her brother might have killed Dennis Pegg. Howe notified state police who discovered Pegg’s body in the living room of his home around noon Wednesday with at least 20 stabb wounds and slases to the neck, chest and torso.

    A short time later troopers arrested Fredericks at his mother’s house. Fredericks identified Reynolds as his accomplice and police took him into custody as well.

    The affidavit also indicated that when Fredericks returned to his mother’s home after the murder, he "stated something to the effect of an insanity defense."

    Tony Krucinski, the assistant manager of the Liquor Factory in Andover, knew Pegg for 40 years. Like Walsh, he knew Pegg as hardworking and kind, a good friend. He also knows Clark Fredericks, who came into his store on a regular basis. Krucinski said he is having a hard time reconciling the lively person, always ready with a joke, he knows Fredericks to be, with what he did.

    "It’s not just two lives destroyed," he said. "It’s hundreds of lives destroyed. It’s all muddy water."

    Star-Ledger staff writer Joe Moszczynski contributed to this report.


    Related coverage:

    Affadavit: Murder suspect says Stillwater victim 'Got what was coming to him'

    Suspect's family says years of anger led to attack on retired Sussex County corrections officer

    Jerry Sandusky case may have led Sussex man to kill ex-Scout leader

    Two men charged in connection with killing of retired Sussex County corrections officer


    Under a plea agreement, state authorities will recommend Sonia Noel, 48, of Union City, be sentenced to four years in state prison

    Sonia-Noel.jpgView full sizeSonial Noel in a photo provided by the N.J. attorney general's office.

    TRENTON — A former clerk at the Jersey City Motor Vehicle Agency pleaded guilty to conspiracy Friday for illegally selling driver’s licenses to unauthorized applicants, state authorities said.

    Sonia Noel, 48, of Union City, admitted that on more than one occasion in 2008, she entered false information into a state database for two people who did not have the identification necessary to get a license, the state Attorney General’s Office said in a news release.

    Under a plea agreement, state authorities will recommend Noel be sentenced to four years in prison. She must pay $3,000 in restitution and will be barred from public employment in New Jersey. Sentencing is scheduled for Sept. 7.

    In May, Noel’s daughter, Melody Noel, 27, of Union City, who was also a clerk in Jersey City, pleaded guilty to tampering with public records or information, the office said.

    She admitted helping process one of the license applications sold by her mother. She was sentenced Friday to two years probation, community service and a $1,000 fine, the office said. She will also be barred from future public employment in New Jersey.

    Last month Hernan Chica, 53, of Hackensack, one of the customers who illegally purchased a license from Sonia Noel, pleaded guilty to computer criminal activity, the office said. Chica was sentenced Friday to two years probation, community service and a $750 fine, the office said.

    Chica and the Noels were among 40 named in indictments last year in connection with alleged conspiracies at motor vehicle agencies in East Orange, Edison, North Bergen and Lodi motor vehicle agencies.


    Related coverage:

    Identities of N.J. Motor Vehicle Commission clerks indicted for illegal sale of licenses are released

    Six Motor Vehicle Commission clerks among 40 facing indictments for illegal sale of licenses


    Julio Ferrer, 28, pleaded guilty before in Trenton federal court to the seven counts of bank robbery

    Paul Fishman.JPGView full sizeU.S. Attorney Paul J. Fishman speaks at a press conference in December.

    TRENTON — An Elizabeth man described as a "serial bank robber" admitted Friday to robbing more than $30,000 from seven TD Banks in 2011.

    Julio Ferrer, 28, pleaded guilty in federal District Court to robbing banks in Westfield, Roselle, Rahway, Metuchen, Edison, Union and Princeton, said U.S. Attorney Paul J. Fishman.

    In each robbery, Ferrer passed handwritten notes to tellers demanding money. He admitted using a fake gun in the robbery in Edison, Fishman said.

    Ferrer began the robbery spree while on supervised release from a prior bank robbery conviction. He had been arrested in July 2007 on charges of robbing five banks in Union County.

    For these most recent offenses, he faces a maximum of 20 years in prison and either a $250,000 fine or twice the gain of his robberies, when sentenced Sept. 27.

    Fishman credited special agents of the FBI, under the direction of Special Agent Michael B. Ward in Newark, and the police departments of Westfield, Roselle, Rahway, Metuchen, Edison, Union and Princeton, with the investigation.

    Court documents show the amount stolen from each location:

    • Sept. 11, 2011, 560 North Avenue East Westfield, $5,721

    • Oct. 19, 2011, 37 Saint George Avenue, Roselle, $1,620

    • Nov. 19, 2011, 1071 St. Georges Avenue, Rahway, $3,496

    • Dec. 1, 2011, 70 Middlesex Avenue, Metuchen, $5,881

    • Dec. 11, 2011, 1906 Lincoln Highway, Edison, $9,293

    • Dec. 16, 2011, 570 Chestnut Street, Union, $2,329

    • Dec. 22, 2011, 883 State Road, Princeton, $5,500

    More Union County news


    Dennis Pegg kept pictures of nude children and children involved in sex acts in a box in his basement, the attorney for Pegg's accused killer says in court papers

    Gallery preview

    STILLWATER — Dennis Pegg, slain in an alleged revenge killing by a man claiming Pegg molested decades ago, kept pictures of nude children and children involved in sex acts in a box in his basement, the accused killer’s attorney says in a court papers filed today.

    But in yet another twist in the case, the defense lawyer says the box is missing.

    In a notice to maintain and preserve all of Pegg’s estate, the defense says that a person described only as JOHN DOE 1 has come forward to allege the box in the Stillwater home “contained, among other things, numerous Polaroid photographs of nude children and/or children involved in sexual acts."

    “JOHN DOE 1 reported that he was molested by Dennis Pegg as a child,” continues the emergency notice, filed late Friday by attorney Daniel Perez.

    Pegg, 68, was murdered last week in his Stillwater home. Clark Fredericks, 46, allegedly confessed to the crime after being arrested, telling authorities he was a molestation victim of Pegg decades ago, and saying Pegg “got what was coming to him” after allegedly committing the crime, according to the arrest affidavit. Robert Reynolds, 47, of Hackettstown, is charged as an accomplice.

    Gregory Mueller, the first assistant prosecutor, confirmed that at least some of the information in Perez's affidavit is taken from the ongoing, county-wide investigation of the prosecutor’s office.

    "We're not opposing the application," Mueller said.

    William Haggerty, the Newton attorney who prepared Pegg’s will, said he didn’t know of a missing box in the murdered man’s basement. He said the two executors, listed on Perez’s document as Joshua Orinowski and Richard Alcaro — two men who gave eulogies at Pegg’s funeral service today — were not blood relatives.

    “The will is scheduled for probate on Monday,” Haggerty said, declining further comment. “It will be public record then.”

    Two other legal notices filed Friday target a safe deposit box at the local Lakeland Bank in Stillwater. The Sussex County Prosecutor’s Office asked the court to freeze the contents of the safe-deposit box, which include 14 letters addressed to various people, and to ask a judge to review what’s in them. In the second notice, Judge Edward Gannon schedules a hearing for next Thursday to discuss how to handle those contents.

    Related coverage:

    2 different pictures emerge of Stillwater stabbing victim

    Affadavit: Murder suspect says Stillwater victim 'Got what was coming to him'

    Suspect's family says years of anger led to attack on retired Sussex County corrections officer

    Jerry Sandusky case may have led Sussex man to kill ex-Scout leader

    Two men charged in connection with killing of retired Sussex County corrections officer


    Venette Ovilde and Myriam Janvier were both indicted on murder charges in the May 22, 2011, death of Christiana Glenn, who was Ovilde's daughter

    mom-daughter.JPGChristiana Glenn (right) appears in a photo taken in 2006. Her mother, Venette Ovilde is seen in the 2001 photo to the right.

    IRVINGTON — When Christiana Glenn was found dead in her Irvington apartment last year, the 8-year-old was emaciated and had an untreated broken leg.

    In the weeks that followed, investigators said the girl’s 29-year-old mother and her 23-year-old roommate had systematically abused and starved Christiana and her two siblings, both of whom were found malnourished and injured, but survived.

    Today, with the announcement a grand jury had indicted Christiana’s mother and the other woman on murder and related charges, new details emerged alleging a near-sadistic torture all three children apparently endured.

    More than a year after Christiana’s death on May 22, 2011, the grand jury indicted her mother, Venette Ovilde, and her roommate, Myriam Janvier for murder.

    Both were also charged in the 38-count indictment with abusing Christiana’s now 7-year-old brother and 8-year-old sister, along with conspiracy, endangering the welfare of a child, aggravated assault, criminal restraint and hindering prosecution.

    They are expected to be arraigned in the near future. Ovilde has been in the Essex County Jail since her arrest last year. Janvier was returned to jail, after her release in April when her bail was reduced.

    Attorneys for the women could not be reached today.

    Among the allegations contained in the indictment:

    • All three children were forced to kneel on salt with heavy objects on their heads for hours at a time.

    • Both women restrained the children by tying them to the radiator.

    • From Aug. 1, 2010, until her death, Ovilde and Janvier starved Christiana.

    • From the day Christiana broke her leg on May 1, 2011, until her death, neither her mother nor Janvier sought medical treatment for the girl.

    Christiana’s siblings were also starved and sustained fractures that went untreated, the indictment alleges, including one who sustained a fractured finger and the other, who had a fractured arm and foot.

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    An autopsy determined Christiana died from the untreated broken leg and malnutrition.

    Her death drew national attention and prompted outrage over the alleged pattern of abuse, which authorities for the first time laid out so vividly and explicitly in the indictment.

    The state Division of Youth and Family Services was also called out for criticism after the way it mishandled several allegations of prior abuse in the household, including one from Christiana herself.

    Another aspect to the case was the women’s unusual brand of faith led by a Haitian pastor — Ovilde and Janvier are from Haiti — who reportedly ordered them to fast daily and prohibited them from working or contacting their families.

    The pastor, Emanyel Rezireksyon Kris, is not charged in the indictment, though investigators said they spent several months delving into his connection with the two women and the children. A series of diaries the two women kept, written in Creole, also had to be translated, but authorities wouldn’t reveal their contents.

    Two months after Christiana’s death, it was revealed that Essex County family court officials and a court-appointed psychologist mishandled allegations of "possible physical abuse," which the little girl disclosed to them two years earlier. The family court was also criticized for its failure to report that a psychologist assessing her relationship with her godparents heard Christiana describe how her mother would sometimes hit her with a belt and a brush and didn’t take her to the doctor.

    A Senate committee quickly approved a bill that would change the way child abuse investigations are classified, adding a category for state workers to describe whether child abuse has been corroborated.

    Related coverage:

    Irvington girl's death calls into question how DYFS investigates abuse

    Irvington women plead not guilty to child endangerment charges in death of 8-year-old girl

    Women charged with child endangerment in death of Irvington girl, 8, appear in court

    Mother of Irvington girl who died of untreated broken leg to make court appearance

    For 8-year-old Irvington girl who died, a short life bereft of toys, fun


    Court documents allege Dennis Pegg kept "numerous Polaroid photographs of nude children and/or children involved in sexual acts," though police could not find the box

    killing.jpgView full sizeClark Fredericks, left, 47, of Fredon and Robert Reynolds, 47, of Hackettstown have been charged in connection with Dennis Pegg's killing.

    By Seth Augenstein and Amy Ellis Nutt/The Star-Ledger

    STILLWATER — As murder victim Dennis Pegg was laid to rest at St. Joseph’s cemetery in Newton today, across town a defense lawyer for one of the accused filed an affidavit seeking to preserve Pegg’s belongings — including an alleged box of child pornography.

    The request, submitted by attorney Daniel Perez, specifically cited a box containing "numerous Polaroid photographs of nude children and/or children involved in sexual acts."

    Clark Fredericks, 46, has been charged with first-degree murder and two of his relatives claim he was molested by Pegg years ago when he was a Boy Scout and Pegg a troop leader. Robert Reynolds, 47, friend of Fredericks, has been charged with helping him kill Pegg and hiding evidence.

    Perez’s request, according to the affidavit, was based on information provided to police after Pegg’s death by an unnamed individual (called "John Doe 1" in the legal notice), who says he, too, was molested by Pegg when he was a child.

    Police searched Pegg’s Stillwater home for the box, but according to the affidavit it was not found. However, Perez added in the document, he was told "other evidence involving children was found pursuant to the search."

    Pegg, 68, was murdered last week in his home. Fredericks allegedly confessed to the crime when he was arrested hours later, telling authorities Pegg "got what was coming to him," according to an arrest affidavit.

    But there is one other box of interest — a safe deposit box Pegg kept in a local bank.

    The day before Pegg’s funeral, Edward V. Gannon of the Chancery Division of the Superior Court of New Jersey ordered a hearing to take place at 1:30 p.m. Thursday "to determine the disposition of letters found in (Pegg’s) safe deposit box at Lakeland Bank in Stillwater, New Jersey, to parties whose names appear on the envelopes."

    Today, Gregory Mueller, First Assistant Sussex County Prosecutor filed a notice with the judge to permit him to inspect the contents of that safety deposit box. He also confirmed that some of the information sought in Perez’s affidavit comes from the prosecutor’s office investigation.
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    "We’re not opposing the application," he said of Perez’s request.

    Perez was told by William Haggerty, the attorney who prepared Pegg’s will, that 14 letters were found in the Lakeland Bank box and were given to the County Surrogate who then turned them over to Judge Gannon.

    The Sussex County Prosecutor’s Office also filed notice asking the court to freeze the contents of the box for a judge to review. Gannon has scheduled a hearing for next Thursday to discuss how to handle those contents.

    The co-executors of Pegg’s estate, listed on the document as Joshua Orinowski and Richard Alcaro, are not blood relatives of the murdered man, according to Haggerty. Today he said he could not remember when the will was signed, but it was not recently. Haggerty also said he knew nothing about a missing box of Polaroids in Pegg’s basement.

    "The will is scheduled for probate on Monday," he said. "It will be public record then."

    Attempts to reach the two executors were unsuccessful. Earlier in the day, however, they were part of a crowd of about 100-150 mourners at Pegg’s funeral at St. Joseph’s Roman Catholic Church in Newton. Alcara eulogized Pegg, saying he’d known "Denny" for 20 years and that his friend had "lived a life of service and honor."

    "To his friends he gave unwavering loyalty," he said, pausing frequently to compose himself. "He never judged you by the size of your bank account or the number of plaques on your wall. He judged you by what was in your heart and soul."

    Orinowski, too, offered a eulogy and spoke about meeting Pegg for the first time atop Sunrise Mountain in Stokes State Forest when Orinowski was still "a lost soul." From that moment on, he said, Pegg always "went out of his way" to help him.

    John Broda, Pegg’s nephew, was the last to speak. He held a personal note written by Pegg, who asked that it be read at his funeral. In the letter Pegg thanked his relatives, friends and colleagues for "just being in my life."

    He then wrote, "Since I never married ... You have become my family. I tried to be the very best friend I could, often failing. But know that I always tried to do the right thing. Please forgive me for my failings and shortcomings ... I’ve certainly forgiven yours a long time ago."


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    Two men charged in connection with killing of retired Sussex County corrections officer


    Rickeem Booker, 22, and Ricky Booker, 23, were charged with felony murder, robbery and weapons possession in the death of Manuel Moscoso

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    PLAINFIELD — Two city brothers were charged Friday in the shooting death and robbery of a Plainfield man, officials said.

    Rickeem Booker, 22, and Ricky Booker, 23, were charged with felony murder, robbery and weapons possession in the death of Manuel Moscoso, said Union County First Assistant Prosecutor Albert Cernadas Jr.

    Investigators first thought Moscoso, 54, had died in a hit-and-run accident about 4:30 a.m. on May 10, but they found he had been shot, authorities said. His body was found at Roosevelt and East Front streets.

    A housemate said at the time Moscoso was a frequent churchgoer who sent money to family members in El Salvador.

    Ricky Booker, who was being held in the Union County Jail on an unrelated charge, will be further held on $2 million bail, Cernadas said.

    Rickeem Booker was arrested in the city Thursday night and is being held on $1 million bail.


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    The program covers the investigation of Gilbert’s death, which was believed to be the work of a serial killer targeting prostitutes.

    Gilbert.jpgShannan Maria Gilbert, of Jersey City, was reported missing in May 2010. A documentary about her disappearance will air tonight on CBS.

    LONG ISLAND BEACH — The CBS news and documentary program “48 Hours” will feature an episode on Shannan Gilbert, a Jersey City prostitute whose body was found on a Long Island beach with three others.

    The program covers the investigation of Gilbert’s death, which was believed to be the work of a serial killer targeting prostitutes.

    The area where her body was found was described as “the killer’s graveyard” in the episode’s sneak peek.

    Since the autopsy, however, officials have claimed drowning as Gilbert’s cause of death.

    The episode airs tonight at 10.

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    Judge Michael Paul Wright, sitting in Morristown, set a tentative trial date of July 24 for the youth and another Morristown teenager who is accused of robbing Baldwin during an incident on March 9

    lennon-baldwin.jpgA judge refused to lift the house arrest for one of the youths charged in bullying Lennon Baldwin, who is pictured above.

    MORRISTOWN — A Family Court judge today refused to lift house arrest for a Morristown youth who was 17 when he allegedly assaulted and conspired to rob 15-year-old Morristown High School freshman Lennon Baldwin, who committed suicide on March 28 after the alleged bullying.

    Judge Michael Paul Wright, sitting in Morristown, set a tentative trial date of July 24 for the youth and another Morristown teenager who is accused of robbing Baldwin during an incident on March 9 at a parking garage in Morristown. Both youths, who are unnamed because it is a juvenile proceeding, were 17 at the time of the incident, but one has since turned 18, according to court officials.

    A third defendant, Michael Conway, 19, of Morristown, who recently graduated from Morristown High, is accused of being present at the parking garage incident and then lying about it. He is being tried separately as an adult in Superior Court.

    Public defender Patricia Kay is representing the youth who is accused of simple assault on Baldwin at the high school on March 6, then persuading him to tell school officials the assault was a joke after it was captured on video, and then conspiring with the other youth to rob him at the parking garage three days later.

    Kay said her client has graduated from Morristown High and is now looking for a full-time job, but said “that’s difficult when he’s on house arrest” because he must always bring his mother with him.

    However, Judge Wright pointed out that the youth is allowed to “have a job” while under house arrest. He added that permitting house arrest is a relatively lenient stance, pointing out that under the second-degree charge of conspiracy to commit robbery, the youth could face seven years’ incarceration and would normally be held while awaiting trail.

    “I am pleased the child is doing well,” Wright said of his graduation and job search.

    The public defender representing the other youth did not appear for today’s court conference due to a reported “family difficulty.”

    Wright also said he intends to try the two youths at the same time but will pursue the more serious matters first — the second-degree charges of robbery and conspiracy to commit robbery and the third-degree charge of terroristic threats against the other juvenile.

    Previous coverage:

    Teen linked to attack of Morristown youth who committed suicide appears in court

    Man charged in attack of Morristown youth is 'stupid teenager,' not bully, father says

    3 charged in attacks against Morristown teen who committed suicide


    Police trying to identify victim found early this morning

    body-found-in-stolen-car.jpgA file photo on a Newark police car, police are investigating homicide this morning

    NEWARK — An unidentified man was found dead in a stolen vehicle in Newark's West Ward early this morning, authorities said.

    The victim, who died of a gunshot wound, was discovered shortly before 1 a.m. in the 300 block of South 18th Street, according to Acting Essex County Prosecutor Carolyn Murray.

    It was not immediately clear when the man was shot, when he died, or how his body was discovered. A prosecutor's office spokeswoman declined to comment further on the killing.

    More Newark news


    Mikhy Robinson was killed on Dec. 30 by the man the toddler' mother was dating, prosecutors say

    newark-shooting-suspect-victim.jpgWakir Bryant, left, was indicted today in connection with the December fatal shooting of 2-year-old Mikhy Robinson, right, in Newark.

    NEWARK — An Essex County grand jury has returned a five-count indictment charging a man with reckless manslaughter in the December fatal shooting of 2-year-old Mikhy Robinson in Newark, the county prosecutor’s office announced today.

    Wakir Bryant was charged in the toddler's death, which happened on Dec. 30 in the child's home, authorities said. Bryant had been dating the toddler's mother.

    Mikhy’s mother was awakened that morning by the sound of a gunshot and moments later found Bryant and her fatally wounded child both covered in blood, according to a Star-Ledger report at the time. Bryant was slumped against a wall, repeating the words, "I’m so sorry," according to the report.

    The mother and Bryant took the child to a hospital, but the defendant later fled, authorities have said. Bryant was arrested that same evening.

    The indictment also charges the 28-year-old Belleville man with endangering the welfare of a child, hindering apprehension and two weapons offenses.

    Bryant had originally been charged with aggravated manslaughter, but the grand jury chose to indict him on the reckless manslaughter count, which carries less prison time if convicted. Though prosecutors allege the gun belonged to Bryant, it remains unclear whether he fired the weapon or whether the child did so himself.

    In a separate indictment, Bryant is also charged with being a convicted felon in possession of a weapon, which is illegal.

    Bryant, who has a lengthy criminal history, remains in Essex County Jail in lieu of $250,000 bail.

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    Questions linger in the fatal shooting of Newark toddler

    Man arrested in fatal Newark shooting of 2-year-old boy


    A 22-year-old Mendham man who was arrested during an apparent dispute later spit saliva and blood at police and threatened their families, according to police.

    map-harmony-lane-mendham-township-nj.jpgA map showing Harmony Lane in Mendham Township.

    MENDHAM TOWNSHIP — A 22-year-old Mendham man who was arrested during an apparent dispute later spit saliva and blood at police and threatened their families, according to police.

    Kevin Hynes was arrested Sunday after township police responded to a home on Harmony Lane for a report of a dispute. Police believed Hynes was intoxicated, according to Lt. Vito Abrusci.

    Hynes became belligerent, Abrusci said, and was charged with disorderly conduct.
    As officers attempted to place Hynes in their squad car, he kicked Officer Joseph Wilce twice in the leg, Abrusci said.

    At the police station, Hynes threatened the officers and their families, Abrusci said. Hynes, who had cut his lip prior to the police arriving at Harmony Lane, then intentionally spit saliva and blood, Abrusci said.

    Hynes was charged with disorderly conduct, resisting arrest, aggravated assault and terroristic threats. He was released with a court date.

    No police officers were injured during their interaction with the suspect, police said.

    More Morris County news


    Carjackings have been a major issue in the state's largest city for the past three years, increasing annually from 2009 to 2011

    newark-police.jpgNewark police captured six carjacking suspects, seizing a handgun and two stolen cars during the weekend arrests, authorities said.

    NEWARK — Newark Police captured six carjacking suspects, seizing a handgun and two stolen cars during the weekend arrests, authorities said.

    The takedowns began on Saturday morning, when officers assigned to a carjacking initiative ran across a 2001 Chevy Impala that was reportedly stolen on Friday, said Sgt. Ronald Glover, a city police spokesman. Police noticed the vehicle driving near Springfield Avenue and S. 11th Street around 1:30 a.m., according to Glover, who said the driver of the vehicle sped off when he spotted the officers.

    The chase ended in an empty parking lot when the driver, 18-year-old Newark resident Jahleel McClendon, tried to flee on foot. He was captured a short time later in a Chadwick Avenue parking lot, and authorities allege he was carrying a loaded 9mm. handgun and 46 glassine envelopes filled with heroin at the time of his arrest.

    The next morning, officers stopped a 2000 BMW 323i near 14th Avenue and South Seventh Street, Glover said. Police quickly realized the vehicle had been reported carjacked in Newark and moved to arrest all five occupants.

    The driver, 19-year-old Kareem Paterson, was charged with carjacking, while his four passengers were charged with receiving stolen property, Glover said.

    Carjackings have been a major issue in the state's largest city for the past three years, increasing annually from 2009 to 2011. Police Director Samuel DeMaio believes the recent arrests are a step toward curbing the problem.

    "I commend the officers involved in these apprehensions for their commitment in protecting the citizens of Newark," he said. "I am also pleased that they were able to remove these suspects from our streets before committing more acts of violence."

    More Newark news


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