Appellate Court Upholds South Plainfield Man’s Murder Conviction

TRENTON — The New Jersey Appellate Division upheld the murder conviction for Paul Cibelli, Jr., formerly of South Plainfield, who was found guilty of murdering his girlfriend, Tania Silva, in 2005 after she arranged to move out of his South Plainfield home and move into her own apartment, Acting Middlesex County Prosecutor Andrew C. Carey announced.

After murdering Ms. Silva, Cibelli encased her body in plastic bags, along with a Bostitch stapler, one of his T-shirts and some towels, and then dumped her body in a dumpster near Philadelphia. Workers at a recycling plant in Philadelphia discovered Ms. Silva’s remains on October 12, 2005, which was about seven days after her murder. The t-shirt found with the body was the same t-shirt worn by Cibelli in a photograph found in his home. The Bostitch stapler fit into a sheath found at the Cibelli household.

In his appeal, Cibelli raised several issues that he claimed denied him a fair trial, which included his claim that the state had not presented sufficient evidence to show that he killed Ms. Silva and that the trial court had erred in addressing and dismissing jurors for hardship without defendant being present. The Appellate Division rejected Cibelli’s arguments, finding the state’s evidence more than sufficient to prove his guilt. The Appellate Division, after examining the trial record, concluded that that Cibelli’s trial was “fair and did not violate his rights.”

The convictions upheld today followed the second trial on these charges. Cibelli was first convicted in 2007, however, the convictions were reversed by the Appellate Division in 2009 due to certain evidentiary issues. The second trial was conducted in the fall of 2010 before the Honorable Bradley J. Ferencz, J.S.C., and was tried by Acting Middlesex County Assistant Prosecutor Neil Casey. The appeal was handled by Acting Middlesex County Assistant Prosecutor Nancy A. Hulett.

Carey states that “My hope is that today’s ruling brings some sense of relief and closure to Tania Silva’s family, who have endured for a long period of time. Justice was served today with the Appellate Division upholding Cibelli’s murder conviction.”

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