Victim's family outraged over terms of plea deal in murder of woman found in trunk

Anthony Johnson Image
Thursday, February 15, 2024
Man accused in death of woman found in trunk takes guilty plea
Anthony Johnson has more.

PATERSON, New Jersey (WABC) -- The family and friends of a woman whose body was found inside of a trunk in Paterson in November 2022 are outraged after the man accused in her killing accepted a plea deal Thursday.

DeJesus' family has even called for a special prosecutor because they believe the justice system and the Passaic County Prosecutor's Office failed them.

Justin Fischer, 31, took a guilty plea on charges of desecration of a body and hindering apprehension that sentences him to a maximum of 15 years in prison.

Stephanie DeJesus, a 37-year-old mother, was killed in a hammer attack two years ago, investigators say. She also suffered a gunshot wound.

Investigators say her murder was a family affair with her alleged killer's mother, father and finance all helped to dispose of the body. But no one involved in the case was ever charged with murder.

"Where is justice here? Where is it?" said Linda Cordero, DeJesus' aunt. "We need justice. We need people to help us, show us what else we need to do, because we do not want to do this this way."

The DeJesus family blames local prosecutors for not doing enough to turn it into a murder case.

"How do you think her son feels to hear this news? Is that justice for him or his family? It is not," said Jennifer Rodriguz, DeJesus' friend said.

Fischer will return to court on April 9 for sentencing.

DeJesus never had the chance to see her son graduate from high school. Her family argues that considering the time Fischer has already served, he will be out of prison by the time he is 40.

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Jim Dolan has the story.


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