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STATE v. HENDRICKS — NEW JERSEY MURDER TRIAL — "NOT GUILTY" VERDICT

Mr. Tumelty represented Helena Hendricks, who was charged with first degree murder in Atlantic County Superior Court. The defendant faced a number of additional charges, including armed robbery, conspiracy and possession of a handgun for an unlawful purpose. At the conclusion of a jury trial that lasted three weeks, the defendant was found "not guilty" of all charges.

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ATLANTIC COUNTY NJ MAN GETS 125 YEARS JAIL FOR DOUBLE HOMICIDE

An Atlantic County Superior Court judge handed down one of the longest state prison sentences in Atlantic County history. Judge Michael Donio sentenced Nicholas Nigro, III, to 130 years in state prison for killing his girlfriend and her mother in their Egg Harbor Township home in 2009. Judge Donio sentenced Nigro to 60 years for killing MariJane Buri (48 years old) and 65 years for shooting Paula Muldur (age 21) in the head two times. Judge Donio said the additional years for the killing of Muldur was for the intentional suffering Nigro inflicted on her before she was shot. Nigro is only 27 years old and will not be eligible for parole for over 100 years.

Nigro killed Buri first because he wanted her daughter to hear it. Nigro then blocked Mulder in her bedroom, forced her back onto her bed, telling her to ‘shut-up’ before he shot her twice in the head. Judge Donio stated that Nigro wanted her to hear the shotgun blast that killed her mother. “During those seconds or short minutes, the psychological and emotional suffering this young girl went through was immense”, said Judge Donio.

Nigro’s confession to the murders was the key evidence in the case. He confessed to the crimes in a videotaped interview with detectives saying he was angry with the way Mulder had treated him. But he later denied any involvement saying he confessed only to protect his family. Defense Attorney Mark Roddy is appealing Judge Donio’s decision on the admissibility of the confession evidence. Roddy stated that the murders would have gone unsolved but for Nigro’s confession. However, Nigro insisted Thursday that he is innocent. “I plan to never stop fighting”, he said. “I loved Paula, and I loved her mother with all my heart and soul, and I still do.”

Outside the courtroom, Judy Curran, MariJane Buri’s sister, said the family was happy with the sentence. They felt that justice was done.

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