NORTH BRUNSWICK, NJ—A local man has been found guilty of murdering his next-door neighbor in the summer of 2014, after a second trial that followed a "hung jury."
The "retrial" began on January 18 in the Middlesex County Courthouse, located in downtown New Brunswick.
On February 28, 44-year-old Roland E. Amos was found guilty of fatally shooting Brian A. Hoey, who was 43 at the time and left behind a longtime girlfriend and their eight-year-old daughter.
Amos was also convicted of weapons offenses and hindering his own apprehension in the case.
The fatal crime occurred in the Belcourt Townhouses, in the Hidden Lake section of North Brunswick in the early morning hours of September 1, 2014.
The first attempt at prosecuting Amos proved to be unsuccessful, with jurors unable to agree on Amos' guilt.
When juries can't come to an agreement about whether or not to convict a defendant, the jury is eventually dismissed, but prosecutors can bring the case against a defendant once again in a retrial.
Assistant Prosecutors Christine D'Elia and Fabrice Charles handled the second trial, and they were pitted against public defenders Melissa Karabulot and Adam Axel.
Amos was arrested "following an intensive month-long investigation by Detective Robert Powell of the North Brunswick Police Department and Detective Gregory Morris of the Middlesex County Prosecutor’s Office," according to the county's top law enforcement official, Andrew Carey.
Also arrested was Amos' girlfriend, 41-year-old Zoraida Rodriguez, who was charged with a third-degree offense for allegedly providing false information to investigators to keep her boyfriend from being arrested.
But the first trial for Amos did not result in a clear verdict, instead leaving jurors "hung" and forcing prosecutors to start their case over again.
Throughout the prolonged court cases, Amos was held at the Middlesex County Adult Correctional Center on $1.2 million bail.
It was not Amos' first time in jail. In 2003, he pled guilty to a felony count of distributing crack cocaine, and was thus prevented from possessing a weapon under New Jersey law.
In addition to murder, Amos was also convicted of possession of a weapon for an unlawful purpose, unlawful possession of a weapon, and hindering his own apprehension.
According to the Middlesex County Prosecutor's Office (MCPO), Amos is facing a maximum prison term of "life plus 10 years."
He is scheduled to be sentenced on May 4 by Superior Court Judge Dennis Nieves, and will be required to serve 85% of the "life term," plus at least five years on the weapons charges before he can be eligible for parole, according to the MCPO.