ESSEX COUNTY, NJ - On Thursday, Acting Essex County Prosecutor Carolyn A. Murray announced that countywide homicides are up approximately 31 percent. This week alone, 5 homicides were reported over a 24-hour period in Newark, and East Orange has a total of eight more homicides than it did at this time last year.
Eight-Month Homicide Comparison Increase Totals
Increases in Essex County Homicides January to August, by year
Recent Newark Homicides
The Newark Police Department and the Prosecutor’s Office Homicide/Major Crimes Task Force are investigating five reportedly unrelated homicides that occurred this week over a two-day period in Newark:
The investigations into all five incidents are active and ongoing.
Wiliam Fitzsimmons, 85, Dies After Blunt Force Injuries He Received During May 16 Belleville Home Invasion
ESSEX COUNTY, NJ - Acting Essex County Prosecutor Carolyn A. Murray announced
today that William Fitzsimmons, 85, of Belleville died yesterday of injuries he received during a home invasion of his Cedar Hill Avenue residence.
Fitzsimmons had been hospitalized since the May 16 robbery, during which he suffered blunt force trauma.
According to a report in the Belleville Times, Fitzsimmons had told police that he had heard a knock at his door at about 7pm that Saturday evening. Apparently, as he opened the door he was then struck from behind by someone already inside of his house. He was then tied up while the intruder reportedly cut his phone lines, ransacked the house, stole costume jewelry and then fled the scene.
It's believed that after the robber left, Fitzsimmons went outside and then fell unconscious. The next morning at about 10am, two persons found Fitzsimmons outside his home; his face was "bloody, bruised and swollen." They contacted Belleville Police who began their investigation.
Belleville Police later charged Ray Cooley, 25, of Nutley, with attempted murder, burglary and kidnapping following Fitzsimmon's assault and those charges will likely be upgraded. Cooley reportedly admitted to police his role in the incident and stated that he had shoveled snow at Fitzsimmons' house over the winter. He is suspected of entering Fitzsimmon's home through an unlocked door.
The Essex County Prosecutor's Office along with the Belleville Police Department are continuing to investigate the incident.
Christina Prestianni, Caldwell Pupcake Grooming and Bakery Owner, Killed in Apparent Murder-Suicide Thursday
NUTLEY, NJ - Christina Prestianni, 37, was reportedly killed Thursday by Christopher Minichini, 38, with whom she was in a relationship. Acting Essex County Prosecutor Carolyn A. Murray and Nutley Police Chief Thomas Strumolo
announced that the pair were found at their Hillside Avenue, Nutley home, dead from gunshot wounds.
Prestianni was the owner of Pupcake Dog Grooming and Bakery on Bloomfield Avenue in Caldwell, which she opened in 2008.
The Prosecutor's Office stated that their initial investigation points to Minichini, a state corrections officer for the past seven years, having shot Prestianni, then shot himself.