Arrest made in cesspool body

Killed over just $800
January 8, 2008 3:06:54 PM PST
A nursery worker has been arrested on charges of killing his landlord after learning he had just withdrawn $800 from a bank, then dumping his body in a backyard cesspool, a detective said Tuesday.Jaime Rosario, 38, of Center Moriches, pleaded not guilty to second-degree murder and was ordered held without bail at his arraignment in First District Court in Central Islip. Rosario's court-appointed attorney, Eric Naiburg, declined to comment.

Rosario, a laborer at nurseries and garden stores, had been renting a $100-a-week room in Nicolo Caietta's modest Mastic Beach home when he killed the victim and stole $800 that his 59-year-old landlord had intended to use to buy a counterfeit driver's license, said Det. Sgt. Edward Fandrey. Mastic Beach is about 70 miles from Manhattan on Long Island's south shore.

Detectives said Rosario bashed Caietta to death with a baseball bat, stashed the body in a closet overnight, and then dumped the victim in a backyard cesspool the following morning. Detectives were contacted by members of the victim's family in May 2006, reporting that Caietta had disappeared.

Fandrey said a break in the case came last week when detectives located the fraudulent license salesman. That person, who was not identified by police and is not facing charges, told detectives that Caietta never showed up to purchase the phony driver's license. Police did not know why Caietta had arranged to buy the counterfeit license.

Fandrey said officers decided to return to the Caietta home last Saturday and subsequently found the victim's body inside the cesspool. He said Rosario, who has a record for petty crimes, then made statements to the police on Monday that led to his arrest.

Rosario's next court date was set for Jan. 14.