Fatality in Morristown Residential Fire

Morris County Prosecutor Fredric M. Knapp and Morristown Police Chief Peter Demnitz announce an on-going investigation into a fatal fire that occurred on December 14, 2014 at 1 Shady Lane, Morristown, New Jersey.  

The investigation has revealed that an adult female died during the course of a fire at her personal residence.  No other injuries were reported and the fire was extinguished due to efforts of first responders. Notification of the fire was received this morning.

This is an active investigation. Personnel from the Morristown Police Department and the Morris County Prosecutors Major Crimes Unit have responded to the scene.  Further information will be made available once the investigation concludes and the Medical Examiner has conducted a post-mortem examination. 

Further press releases on this matter are not anticipated today.

Any inquiries can be directed to First Assistant Morris County Prosecutor Thomas Zelante at 973-285-6252 or [email protected].

Bloomfield Man Sentenced to 20 Years for Theft and Fraud

Morris County Prosecutor Fredric M. Knapp announces that the Honorable Thomas J. Critchley, Jr., J.S.C. sentenced Robert Kosch, 58 years old, of Bloomfield, New Jersey to an aggregate sentence of 20 years in State Prison for multiple counts of Theft, Fraud, and Possession of Personal Identifying Information.

On October 14, 2014, a Sussex County jury found the defendant guilty of two counts of second degree Theft of Immovable Property, one count of third degree Theft of Immovable Property, two counts of third degree Theft of Movable Property, two counts of third degree Fraud, and one count of second degree Possession of Personal Identifying Information.  The charges stemmed from the defendant’s operation of Floaters, LLC, a business involved in foreclosure rescues and the purchase of real estate in various towns in Sussex County. The defendant targeted individuals in financial distress and who had moved out of their homes. He forged signatures on various deeds transferring ownership of properties to himself or Floaters, LLC without the consent of the homeowners.  He then proceeded to rent out the properties and collect the rental income.  The defendant was also found to be in possession of personal identifying information belonging to over one hundred individuals for the purposes of locating other property owners.

Judge Critchley sentenced the defendant to an aggregate sentence of 20 years in State Prison.  The defendant is required to serve 6 years before becoming eligible for parole.

Prosecutor Knapp would like to thank the members of the Morris County Prosecutor’s Office, Chief Randy Mills and the Vernon Township Police Department, and the Morris County Prosecutor’s Office Financial Crimes Unit whose efforts contributed to this result.

The Morris County Prosecutor’s Office handled the trial due to a conflict of interest with a staff member of the Sussex County Prosecutor’s Office.  The State was represented by Morris County Assistant Prosecutor Sahil Kabse and Detective Leah Atterbury was the lead Detective.

Any inquiries can be directed to First Assistant Morris County Prosecutor Thomas Zelante at 973-285-6252 or [email protected].

North Bergen Man Sentenced to 30 Years in Connection with 2011 Killing

Morris County Prosecutor Fredric M. Knapp announces that the Honorable Robert J. Gilson, J.S.C. sentenced Carlos Rojas, 24 years old, of North Bergen, New Jersey, to 30 years in New Jersey State Prison in connection with the August 2011 killing of Esteban Hernandez.

On October 30, 2014, Carlos Rojas was found guilty by a jury of Aggravated Manslaughter, a crime of the first degree; Kidnapping, a crime of the first degree; Disturbing, Desecrating Human Remains, a crime of the second degree; Possession of a Weapon for Unlawful Purposes, a crime of the third degree; Theft From a Person, a crime of the third degree; Theft by Unlawful Taking, a crime of the third degree; and Hindering Apprehension or Prosecution, a crime of the third degree.

This prosecution stemmed from an investigation into the death of Esteban Hernandez, who was found beaten to death in the trunk of a car on August 4, 2011 in a wooded area in Lincoln Park, New Jersey.  The subsequent investigation would reveal that the victim had been killed in Fairview, New Jersey the previous day, August 3, 2011.   

Judge Gilson sentenced the defendant to 30 years in State Prison.  The Court imposed a 17 year period of parole ineligibility as to the charge of Aggravated Manslaughter pursuant to the No Early Release Act.  This aggregate sentence of 30 years encompassed consecutive sentences for Aggravated Manslaughter, Disturbing, Desecrating Human Remains, and Hindering Apprehension.

Supervising Assistant Prosecutor Matthew Troiano and Assistant Prosecutor Justin Tellone represented the State during the prosecution of this matter.

Prosecutor Knapp stated, “This was an especially brutal homicide.  The defendant has shown no remorse nor contrition for his acts, therefore, this sentence is certainly warranted.  Supervising Assistant Prosecutor Troiano and Sergeant Brylinski did an exceptional job and are to be commended.”

Prosecutor Knapp would like to specifically thank the Morris County Prosecutor’s Office Major Crimes Unit, as well as the Lincoln Park Police Department, the Morris County Sheriff’s Office – Criminal Investigation Section, the Bergen County Prosecutor’s Office, the Fairview Police Department, the North Bergen Police Department, the Union City Police Department, and the West New York Police Department. 

Any inquiries can be directed to First Assistant Morris County Prosecutor Thomas Zelante at 973-285-6252 or [email protected].