NEW BRUNSWICK — A grand jury in Middlesex County indicted three men last week on charges of fatally shooting another city resident last summer, Middlesex County Acting Prosecutor Andrew C. Carey announced.
The panel, sitting in New Brunswick, handed up the indictment against Edwin Morales, 20, and Danilo Lemus-Ramos, 19, both of New Brunswick, and Adrian Islas, 25, of North Brunswick, and charged them with killing Eduardo Mendez, 19, on July 13, 2013.
In a case presented by Middlesex County Assistant Prosecutor Manuel Sameiro, the grand jury accused the trio of murder, conspiracy to commit murder, possession of a handgun for an unlawful purpose and unlawful possession of a handgun.
The panel also attached a first degree count of gang criminality to each of the murder, conspiracy and weapons offenses, contending that the defendants acted on behalf of a street gang, identified as “18th Street.” Lengthier prison terms must be imposed against defendants who are additionally convicted under the gang criminality statutes.
In addition, the grand jury charged Morales, also known as Darwin Garcia, with seven counts including attempted murder, weapons offenses and related gang criminality offenses for shooting Mendez on a prior occasion. Mendez survived after he was wounded on November 27, 2011, while walking in a park in New Brunswick with another man.
Although the other man was not injured, the grand jury identified him as a second intended victim and added attempted murder and gang criminality counts against Morales.
The charges were handed up following an investigation by Detective Brandt Gregus of the New Brunswick Police Department and Investigator Scott Crocco of the Middlesex County Prosecutor’s Office.
The homicide investigation began when police were dispatched to Talmadge Street in New Brunswick and found the victim outside a house on the 200-block.
Morales was arrested in New Brunswick the following day and his co-defendants were apprehended on July 18, 2013.
They have since remained in custody in lieu of bail.
The investigation is continuing. Anyone with information is asked to call Detective Gregus of the New Brunswick Police Department at (732)745-5217, or Investigator Crocco of the Middlesex County Prosecutor’s Office at (732) 745-4471.
As is the case with all criminal defendants, Morales, Lemus-Ramos and Islas are presumed innocent until proven guilty.
Connect with NJTODAY.NET
Join NJTODAY.NET's free Email List to receive occasional updates delivered right to your email address!