A Paterson NJ man recently pleaded not guilty to charges that he raped and murdered a three-year-old girl.
According to the Passaic County Prosecutor s Office, the 30-year-old suspect sexually assaulted the young victim, who was the daughter of the suspect s girlfriend.
The 33-year-old girlfriend has also been charged in connection with the victim s death because she allegedly allowed the violent sex crimes to take place, lied to investigators, and tampered with evidence after the fact.
On January 20, 2016, the suspects took the victim to the emergency room at St. Joseph s Regional Medical Center in Paterson, NJ. The victim was unresponsive after having sustained head trauma.
The Passaic County Prosecutor s Office Special Victims Unit investigated the incident and determined that the suspects were responsible for the victim s injuries.
Initially, the male suspect was charged with aggravated sexual assault and sexual assault, while the female suspect was charged with child endangerment. However, the charges against the male suspect were upgraded to murder and the charges against the female suspect were upgraded to aggravated manslaughter after the victim died as a result of a significant brain injury. The victim passed away less than a week after arriving at the hospital.
If the male suspect is ultimately convicted on the first degree murder charges, he faces severe penalties. As set forth by N.J.S.A. 2C:11-3, murder is the most serious crime in the NJ Criminal Code. A conviction for first degree murder could lead to life imprisonment, with a minimum mandatory term of incarceration of 30 years in New Jersey State Prison.
While the charges are pending and Passaic County prosecutors prepare to take the case to a grand jury, the suspects are being held at the Passaic County Jail in lieu of massive bail amounts.
For additional information about this case, view the NJ.com article, “Couple Charged in Rape, Death of 3-Year-Old Girl Plead Not Guilty.”