Cops Couldn’t Crack Case

ELIZABETH — The 2008 slaying of Tanya Worthy would not have been solved if left to the Elizabeth police department, according to County Prosecutor Theodore Romankow.

The investigation into the murder of the widow of a New Jersey state trooper whose body was found in a burning car in Elizabeth was conducted by the Union County Homicide Task Force.


Romankow established the Task Force in response to a growing number of unsolved murders out of Elizabeth, the county’s largest city.
“This case could not have been completed if we did not have the Task Force,” he said.
Romankow said more than 80 interviews were conducted as investigators spanned three states.

“There were detectives who worked almost full time on this case for almost a year,” said Romankow, who has engaged in verbal battle with municipal officials who deny that street gangs exist in the city.

The year-long investigation culminated in December with the arrests of Rashawn Bond, 33, Robert Harris, 25, Sharif Torres, 21, and Jamel Lewis, 31.

Each suspect is charged with felony murder, kidnapping, robbery, gun charges and arson, Romankow said.

Worthy’s death resulted from a botched robbery attempt after the four men learned about $50,000 and $150,000 from some illegal activity stashed inside Worthy’s mansion in Green Brook, Romankow said.

Authorities have not disclosed whose money it was or how it got there.

Union County investigators had support from the Drug Enforcement Administration, the U.S. Attorney’s Office and the Philadelphia Police Department.

They also received help from Green Brook Police and the Somerset County Prosecutor.

Bond, Harris and Torres are being held on $1.5 million bail while bail for Lewis was set at $2 million, Romankow said.

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