NEWARK, NJ — Four Jersey City men have entered guilty pleas admitting their role in a West Orange home invasion in which a husband, wife and a young child were terrorized, according to Acting Essex County Prosecutor Robert Laurino.
“This just result would not be possible if not for the bravery and vigilance of the victims in the face of danger, as well as the prompt and thorough efforts of the West Orange Police Department,” said Assistant Prosecutor Jason Goldberg, who handled the case.
According to Goldberg, the four armed men broke into a family home on June 8, 2017 as the husband was returning from IKEA and unloading his car. He said that the men tied the husband up with zip-ties and assaulted him, demanding cash.
The wife, who was holding an infant, was threatened at gunpoint. According to Goldberg, the men began heating a knife on the stove and threatened the husband, stating that they would kill his wife and child if he did not open a safe, where they believed there was cash.
During the course of the incident, the wife was able to alert relatives and the police via text with a hidden cell phone. Realizing that there was a surveillance system, the intruders demanded the equipment before fleeing, tripping an alarm.
West Orange police captured the four men with the video equipment, cash, guns, zip ties and masks on Route 280. Although the men took part of the surveillance equipment, the entire incident was captured on cameras that were still intact, according to Goldberg.
Laurino announced on Tuesday that Yodelin Diaz, 25, all pled guilty before the Hon. Martin Cronin, Judge of the Superior Court.
Under the terms of the plea agreement, the expected sentence is up to 15 years in New Jersey State Prison with an 85 percent period of parole ineligibility. According to the prosecutor, the four men are scheduled to be sentenced on April 6.
It was also noted that only Quinones is an American citizen and the other three will be deported back to the Dominican Republic after they serve their prison term. Only Bentura had a prior conviction for burglary. This is a first offense for the others.
In 2017, an Essex County grand jury indicted the defendants on 17 counts of conspiracy, robbery, burglary, criminal restraint, terroristic threats, unlawful possession of a weapon, possession of a weapon for an unlawful purpose and tampering with evidence.
This week, they pled guilty to conspiracy to commit robbery, armed robbery, burglary and unlawful possession of a weapon.
Laurino commended the West Orange Police Department for their exceptional work in this case.