NEW BRUNSWICK, N.J. - A North Brunswick man pled guilty today in the 2017 shooting death of a mother of four.
Christian Cortes was unemotional as he pleaded guilty inside Superior Court on Tuesday to aggravated manslaughter.
Prosecutors agreed to recommend a punishment of up to 16 years in state prison.
The sentencing will take place before Judge Joseph Rea on May 22.
Cortes was indicted in October 2017 on first-degree murder charges. Two other charges against Cortes, unlawful possession of a weapon and possession of a weapon for unlawful purposes, were dismissed.
Cortes shot and killed Desiree Alvarado, 38, on the morning of July 14 on Seventh Street between Livingston and Joyce Kilmer avenues in New Brunswick.
On Tuesday, Cortes was led into the courtroom at 10:49 p.m., dressed in a suit. He had handcuffs and restraints on his ankles.
Cortes testified that he was in New Brunswick to purchase marijuana that morning in 2017. After buying the marijuana, Cortes said he was robbed and he suspected Manuel Garcia, a city resident, set up the robbery.
Cortes testified that he fired a gun into the parked car owned by Manuel Garcia, but that he did not know that Alvarado was inside since the windows were tinted.
Carlos Diaz-Cobo, Cortes' attorney, said the bullet struck Alvarado in the neck.
Rea explained to Cortes that if he is given 16 years in jail at his sentencing, he would have to serve at least 13 years, seven months and 9 days. New Jersey's No Early Release Act requires those convicted of violent crimes to serve at least 85% of their sentences before becoming eligible for parole.