Two 17-year-old teens who are accused of murdering a man in Woodbridge in 2009 will be tried as adults.
The NJ State Supreme Court upheld a decision by the Middlesex County Prosecutor’s Office to charge the teens as adults instead of as juveniles in the fatal shooting of Angel Vazquez, 29, of Keyport, and wounding his sister, Lourdes Diaz, 43.
The juveniles are expected to be charged with counts of murder, conspiracy to commit murder, attempted murder, aggravated assault, possession of a firearm for an unlawful propose, possession of a handgun without a permit and hindering apprehension.
Until the juveniles are charged as adults, their names are being withheld.
The Supreme Court move upholds the May 9, 2011, decision by the Appellate Division, which overruled the decision of the Superior Court in denying the juvenile waivers for the teens to be tried as adults.
In agreeing with the Appellate Division that the juveniles should be tried as adults because the state had established probable cause, the state Supreme Court cited the Appellate Court’s ruling that while Superior Court Judge Roger Daley ‘’correctly stated the legal principles guiding the waiver decision, he strayed from these core principles and disregarded the state’s theory of the case’’ in denying the waiver.
The Supreme Court noted in their opinion that Judge Daley had failed "to address the state’s contention that the juveniles were vicariously liable for reasonable foreseeable consequences of a plan to which they agreed.’’
The next step after the Supreme Court decision is to formerly charge the juveniles as adults and present the case to a grand jury, said Middlesex County Prosecutor Bruce J. Kaplan in a statement.
The incident happened following a fist fight in Woodbridge on August 18, 2009, where the juveniles, seeking revenge after the encounter, solicited help from Angel Torres, also known as Angel Ramos, then 35, of Perth Amboy.
Torres subsequently went to the home of a man in the Fords section of Woodbridge, to seek retribution.
Police subsequently charged the juveniles, and later Torres, with fatally shooting Vazquez and wounding his sister. Neither had a role in the fist fight.
Torres since has been indicted on murder, aggravated assault and weapons offenses. He is awaiting trial. No trial date has been set, the prosecutor's office said in a statement.