CARTERET, NJ—Just around midnight on December 6, 63-year-old Briccio Guevara was found dead outside his home in Carteret, fatally wounded by gunshots, according to authorities.
Guevara, a resident of Carteret, was taken to Robert Wood Johnson University Hospital in Rahway, where he was pronounced dead shortly after he was discovered at 12:01 a.m.
Three days after Guevara’s murder, Middlesex County Prosecutor Andrew C. Carey and Chief John Pieczyski of the Carteret Police Department said they had captured two men responsible for the fatal shooting.
Despite two press releases from the Middlesex County Prosecutor’s Office (MCPO) on the fatal crime, neither mentioned the street address or block–or even which neighborhood of Carteret–the murder occurred at.
Neither release was sent to New Brunswick Today because all of our reporters were removed from the MCPO’s press list earlier this year.
Both of the suspects, 32-year-old Juan Carlos Marrero-Cardona and 21-year-old Miguel Delgado Benitez, also hail from Carteret, which has unfortunately become the murder capital of Middlesex County in 2016.
Marrero-Cardona and Benitez were each charged with murder, conspiracy to commit murder, hindering prosecution and unlawful possession of a weapon. Both have been detained at the Middlesex County Adult Corrections Center, according to the MCPO’s December 9 release.
Bail was set at $1 million dollars each for the murder case, according to authorities. But the jail’s records department also revealed that the two men are being held on an additional $25,000 bail for maufacturing drugs in Carteret.
In both cases, the defendants are ineligible for release under NJ’s “10% option,” and anyone seeking to bail them out will be required to complete a “bail source packet” to identify the source of the $1 million bail for the murder charge.
The two men will also be required to surrender their passports if released in connection with the murder case.
Guevara became the third homicide victim in Carteret this year, joining two other men who recently died after being attacked, ages 18 and 59, in recent months.
Authorities released the locations of the other two killings, but kept one of the murders quiet altogether for nearly a week, as we reported.
Pieczyski was left in charge of the police department after short-lived Director Ronald Franz was let go following his drunken driving arrest just three weeks into his new job.
Carteret is the easternmost municipality of the 25 towns in Middlesex County, and it can often be overlooked as a result of its small physical size and population, as well as its location on the outskirts of the state’s second most-populated county.
Guevara’s body had been found at “the entry way of his home,” but a more precise location was not disclosed by authorities.
After seeing one murder reported in 2015, and none in the first eight months of 2016, at least three lives were taken in the tiny borough of 23,000 residents between September 20 and December 6.
The first death was the result of an apparent stabbing, the second came about from an apparent beating. Now, it’s a fatal shooting that has shaken up the working-class town across from Staten Island.
According to NJ State Police’s most recent Uniform Crime Reports, no other town in Middlesex County has seen multiple murders in 2016. Most towns saw none, but New Brunswick, Milltown, Old Bridge, Piscataway, and Sayreville experienced one murder each, according to the data.
Police were first alerted to the most recent homicide when neighbors called to report the sound of gunfire, according to official statements from the Middlesex County Prosecutor’s Office (MCPO).
An autopsy by the Middlesex County Medical Examiner’s Office confirmed that the Guevara had been shot to death.
The men were charged during an investigation by Detective David Abromaitis of the MCPO and Detective Thomas O’Connor of the Carteret Police Department.
Anyone with information is asked to call Detective O’Connor at (732) 541-3863, or Detective Abromaitis at (732) 745-4436.
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, a community organizer, and a former independent candidate for mayor of New Brunswick.