At a Superior Court hearing in Hackensack, New Jersey on December 18th, a man from Cliffside Park was found guilty of charges for murder and desecration of a body, as well as seven other offenses.
After deliberating for approximately four hours, the jury found 37-year-old Wilfredo Sanchez guilty of murdering 46-year-old local chef Francisco Gonzalez Fuentes and subsequently dismembering his body. Sanchez reportedly committed the crime with Pedro Garcia, who testified during Sanchez’s two-week trial.
According to court documents, Garcia testified that he murdered Fuentes by stabbing him in the neck after a party at their apartment. It was revealed that Fuentes, an openly homosexual chef and employee at the Club House Cafe on Palisade Avenue in Cliffside, had disclosed that he and Garcia had a romantic relationship. During the trial, Garcia admitted that he was infuriated with Fuentes prior his killing because of his actions.
After the party, Fuentes allegedly unzipped Sanchez’s pants while he was sleeping. Sanchez awoke and began beating Fuentes, at which time Garcia retrieved a knife from the kitchen and stabbed Fuentes to death. According to Garcia’s testimony, both he and Sanchez dismembered Fuentes’ dead body before disposing of the parts at various locations in the area and clearing the scene of any visible evidence.
The body was found in various garbage bags, with the head discovered nearby at St. Demetrius Melkite-Greek Church on Cliff Street.
In a statement after the trial, Sanchez’s attorney expressed his disappointment that the jury did not distinguish the actions of Garcia and Sanchez as separate. On the other hand, Assistant Bergen County Prosecutor Wayne Melo announced, “Final justice has been given to Francisco.”
Sanchez’s sentencing is scheduled for February 28th and he is facing a term of incarceration ranging from 30 years to life in New Jersey State Prison.
For more information pertaining to this case, access the following article: Cliffside Park man guilty in slaying, dismemberment of popular cook