Landlord Facing Murder Charge Sentenced in Fatal Hit-and-Run

NEW BRUNSWICK, NJ—Timothy Puskas, a New Brunswick landlord accused of beating a young man to death on Valentine's Day 2014 has been sentenced in a fatal crash that took the life of Leonel Lopez-Hernandez two years earlier.

While Puskas was out on bail in the hit-and-run case, he was accused of the brutal murder of Billy McCaw, a college student found dead in a Hartwell Street backyard in February 2014. That case is still pending.

Puskas was recently sentenced in the hit-and run by Judge Diane Pincus to seven years in state prison. He must serve 85% of that sentence before being eligible for parole, a program where he will be required to serve an additional three years.

But the news of Puskas' sentence was not disseminated by the controversial Middlesex County Prosecutor's Office (MCPO), as it often is in serious criminal cases.  Instead, the information came to light through a Facebook post in a popular group titled "In Memory of Billy McCaw."

Bob McCaw, the father of the man allegedly killed by Puskas, has dutifully kept the friends and family of his late son informed about the multiple criminal proceedings against Puskas.

"Waiting on God's timing in all of this," wrote McCaw.  "Hope the Hernandez family has some peace in all of this. #RIPLeonel #BTKForever #LoveALWAYSwins"

Lopez-Hernandez was killed after being run over by Puskas on Georges Road.  The father of two was riding his bicycle after working a shift at the Bristol-Myers-Squibb facility that straddles the border between New Brunswick and North Brunswick.

McCaw's latest update indicates that jury selection is set to begin on October 26 in the murder case.

"We have received word that trial in Billy's case now has a timetable…. They hope to complete selection by the 28th, which will allow trial to begin with some motions on the 1st of November, with jury coming in beginning the 2nd."

Billy McCaw, formerly a Rutgers University student, had transferred to Kean University before his untimely death.

Bob McCaw encouraged supporters of his son, who graduated from Hillsborough High School and was known as "Billy The Kid" (BTK) to attend the trial.

"If you come OK to wear Rutgers stuff, but prosecution recommends not wearing any BTK t-shirts for now," wrote McCaw.

The case will take place in Courtroom #506 of the Middlesex County Courthouse in downtown New Brunswick.  Judge Dennis Nieves is expected to preside over the matter.

Since his arrest in March 2014, Puskas has been lodged at the Middlesex County Jail on more than $5 million bail.

According to property records, although Puskas is in jail, he remains the official owner of two New Brunswick rental properites: 25 Hardenbergh and 64 Plum Street. 

Prosecutors have indicated they have video evidence of the murder, and have also charged Puskas with an additional assault on one of his tenants.

Editor at New Brunswick Today | 732-993-9697 |

Charlie is the founder and editor of New Brunswick Today, and the winner of the Awbrey Award for Community-Oriented Local Journalism. He is a proud Rutgers University journalism graduate and a community organizer, and was an independent candidate for Mayor of New Brunswick in 2018.