UNION COUNTY, NJ - A Union County grand jury has returned a four-count indictment against an Elizabeth man accused of being responsible for a fatal stabbing and kidnapping that took place earlier this year, acting Union County Prosecutor Grace H. Park announced Friday.

Rosendo Salomon Gomez-Serpas, 24, is charged with first-degree murder, second-degree kidnapping, and two related weapons offenses in connection with the death of 30-year-old Mario Ortiz of Elizabeth.

It was approximately 4 a.m. on Saturday, April 9, 2016 when members of the Elizabeth Police Department responded to the Imperial Latino Lounge on the 600 block of New Point Road and found the body of Ortiz, who was pronounced dead at the scene, according to Union County Assistant Prosecutor Melissa Spagnoli, who is prosecuting the case.

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A fast-moving investigation involving the Prosecutor’s Office’s Homicide Task Force and High Tech Unit, the Elizabeth Police Department, and the Union County Sheriff’s Office’s Crime Scene Unit revealed that Gomez-Serpas and Ortiz had been arguing in the Lounge’s parking lot when the defendant stabbed Ortiz in the chest, then ordered a woman who was present into a nearby vehicle that immediately fled the scene, Spagnoli said.    

Gomez-Serpas then was located and arrested about 10 hours later at an apartment on the 500 block of Marshall Street in Elizabeth, where the female present at the time of the homicide was also found unharmed.

State Superior Court Judge Joseph P. Donohue set bail at $1 million, and Gomez-Serpas was lodged in Union County Jail.

Convictions on charges of first-degree murder are commonly punishable by 30 years to life in state prison.

These criminal charges are mere accusations. Each defendant is presumed innocent until proven guilty in a court of law.