NEW BRUNSWICK, N.J. - Lucas Reyes-Cardona, whose body was found in an abandoned building on Welton Street, was apparently beaten with 2x4s and left in the basement - which served as a bathroom for those who take up residence there.
The details were revealed in Superior Court by the Middlesex County Assistant Prosecutor Bina Desai during the April 18 detention hearings for Juan Carlos Chavez-Amaya, 36, and Jorge Barrios, 28, both of New Brunswick.
Chavez-Amaya and Barrios have been charged with one count of first-degree murder and one count of endangering an injured victim in the third degree in the death of Lucas Reyes-Cardona, 36 of New Brunswick.
Reyes-Cardona's body was discovered in an abandoned residence on Welton Street on April 5 at about 9:59 a.m. Desai described the building as "boarded-up," but that several people lived in makeshift beds. The basement was used as a bathroom.
At the detention hearing, Desai said Reyes-Cardona was beaten with what co-defendants referred to as a "stick" or what is physically consistent with a 2x4. Photos taken at the scene show blood on the wall of the basement where his head may have been struck against the wall, she said
The autopsy revealed that Reyes-Cardona died of blunt force trauma to the head.
Desai said video footage shows the co-defendants and the victim together earlier. The prosecution said they were identified because Chavez-Amaya was wearing "distinctive jeans" in the video.
New Brunswick police, while interviewing Chavez-Amaya, observed blood in his shirt and sneakers. Chavez-Amaya told police it was his own, but tests show the blood found on his sneakers was Reyes-Cardona and blood on the T-shirt is a "mixture" of Chavez-Amaya's blood and Reyes-Cardona's, Desai said.
Chavez-Amaya's blood-soaked pants that he had discarded were found due to a tip from Barrios, Desai said. The results of tests on the pants have not been completed, Desai said.
Although both co-defendants told police that Reyes-Cardona struck first, each gave differing testimony as to the events.
Heather Timmons, the attorney for Barrios, said she reviewed statements her client made to police and said he did not make "an admission." She also said Barrios denies having struck the victim and "blames the killing" on Chavez-Amaya.
Desai said Chavez-Amaya told authorities they both struck the victim "several times." Desai said Chavez-Amaya told police that Reyes-Cardona had a knife. She said the only knife recovered at the scene was in Reyes-Cardona's pocket.
Judge Michael Toto ordered Chavez-Amaya and Barrios detained. They have a May 10 court date with Judge Dennis Nieves.