NEW BRUNSWICK — An Edison man was convicted today of fatally shooting another township resident in the victim’s apartment more than two years ago.
Middlesex County Prosecutor Bruce J. Kaplan announced that Luis Padilla, 29, was found guilty of murder, possession of a weapon for an unlawful purpose and unlawful possession of a weapon in the fatal shooting Nov. 23, 2010 of Kevin Meisnest, 25.
Padilla, who has remained in custody since his arrest shortly after the murder, is scheduled to be sentenced on April 29 to up to life in prison with no chance of parole until he completes 85 percent of the term.
A jury sitting at the Middlesex County Courthouse in New Brunswick returned the verdict to Superior Court Judge Bradley Ferencz after deliberating about five hours over two days.
During a trial that began on Feb. 4, Middlesex County Assistant Prosecutor Michael Weiss presented evidence and testimony showing Padilla, who was a friend of the victim, shot Meisnest five times in his apartment at 14 D Casey Avenue in Edison.
An investigation by Detective Frank Varga of the Edison Police Department and Investigator Brian Gilmurray and Investigator Michael Daniewicz, both of the Middlesex County Prosecutor’s Office, determined that Padilla went to a relative’s home in Brooklyn, N.Y. after he killed Meisnest.
Padilla was brought to a precinct station in Brooklyn, N.Y. on Nov. 24, 2010 and was charged the next day.
Police began the investigation after receiving a phone call on Nov.24, 2010 from Meisnest’s employer, who was concerned when Meisnest, a tow truck driver, failed to report for work.
Edison police met the employer at Meisnest’s apartment, went inside and found the victim.