South Plainfield Man Found Guilty Of Murdering Estranged Girlfriend

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NEW BRUNSWICK — A 48-year-old South Plainfield man was convicted Thursday, for the second time, of murdering his estranged girlfriend and then disposing her body in an attempt to conceal the crime, Middlesex County Prosecutor Bruce J. Kaplan announced.

Paul Cibelli Jr. was found guilty in New Brunswick of murder, hindering his own apprehension and possession of a weapon for an unlawful purpose in the death on October 5, 2005 of Tania Silva, 35, in South Plainfield.

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A jury deliberated for about five hours over two days before returning its verdict at the Middlesex County Courthouse.

Cibelli faces a prison term of 55 years when he is sentenced on Jan. 5, 2011 in New Brunswick by Superior Court Judge Bradley Ferencz. Following the conviction, the judge revoked the defendant’s bail, which had been set at $1.3 million.

During an eight-day trial that began on Oct. 6,  Middlesex County Assistant Prosecutor Neil J. Casey presented evidence and testimony showing that Cibelli stunned Ms. Silva when he struck her over the head with a heavy hammer-stapler gun, strangled her, and then took her body and other evidence to a recycling center in Philadelphia, Pa.

Cibelli initially was convicted in May 2007, but filed an appeal and was granted a retrial in June 2009.

Kaplan thanked the South Plainfield Police Department and the FBI for their invaluable assistance in the prosecution of this case.


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