Man pleads guilty in Newark cop death

December 3, 2008 9:40:52 AM PST
A Cranbury man accused of stealing a police cruiser and causing the death of a Newark police sergeant last year has pleaded guilty to felony murder.Police say William Rodriguez had been sitting handcuffed in the back of the cruiser, but managed to take control of the car and drive away.

A pursuit followed, and the cruiser eventually collided with a marked SUV driven by Sgt. Tommaso Popolizio, who suffered massive head injuries and died two hours later.

Rodriguez faces a 30-year prison sentence.

According to authorities, Rodriguez did not have a valid driver's license at the time of the crash and had been arrested nine times with four felony convictions.

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