Man Pleads Guilty; Co-Defendant Charged In 2006 Homicide

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NEW BRUNSWICK — A New Brunswick man pleaded guilty to a count of aggravated manslaughter on Friday, admitting he pushed a man who fell down a flight of concrete steps and died, Middlesex County Prosecutor Bruce J. Kaplan announced.

In addition, an accomplice, Jesus Tejada, 33, was charged on April 7 with felony murder after Investigator Rodney Blount and Lt. Ivan Scott, both of the Middlesex County Prosecutor’s Office, determined that Tejada allegedly played a role in an attempted robbery that resulted in the death of Francisco Urbina Serrano, 57, of New Brunswick.

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Tejada, who was deported to the Dominican Republic in 2009, remains at large, but would be arrested on the felony murder charge if he returns to the U.S.

Under a plea agreement reached with Middlesex County Assistant Prosecutor Neil J. Casey, Jesse Belliard, 22, of New Brunswick admitted pushing Serrano during the robbery attempt on February 26, 2006, in New Brunswick.

As part of the plea agreement, Belliard will be imprisoned for 10 to 15 years when he is sentenced on June 20 by Superior Court Judge Glenn Berman in the Middlesex County Courthouse in New Brunswick.

Belliard was arrested and charged in 2006 following the investigation by Blount, who, at the time, was a detective in the New Brunswick Police Department, and Scott, then an investigator with the Middlesex County Prosecutor’s Office.

The investigation began after police were called at 12:30 a.m. on Feb. 26, 2006, to an alley between 175 and 179 Hale Street, in New Brunswick.

Serrano was taken to Robert Wood Johnson University Hospital in New Brunswick, and died on Feb. 27, 2006, at 5:45 p.m.

An autopsy by the Middlesex County Medical Examiner’s Office concluded that Serrano died from head injuries.

The investigation determined that Tejada allegedly waited outside a bar for Serrano to emerge and convinced Belliard to help rob the victim.

As Serrano walked toward his home on Hale Street, Belliard, who was 17 years old at the time, stopped the victim and then pushed him down the concrete steps, causing Serrano to strike his head.


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