TRENTON – Senate President Richard J. Codey (D-Essex) today expressed outrage that two of the alleged suspects in last week’s Newark murders were allowed to remain free on previous charges, enabling them to reportedly commit these latest atrocities. Calling these reports “unacceptable,” Sen. Codey asked State Attorney General Anne Milgram to investigate the system that allowed these suspects to continue roaming the streets and later claim the lives of three innocent college students.
“I’ve spoken to the Attorney General and she understands my concerns. I’ve called on her and she’s agreed to do an investigation into these two cases in terms of why bail was reduced and why charges were lessened. It is our understanding that Jose Carranza’s bail was reduced from $300,000 to $150,000 as a unilateral decision by the judge, without allowing any input from the prosecutor’s office, which is simply unacceptable,” said Sen. Codey.
Sen. Codey has been a long-time critic of the justice system in Essex County and feels strongly that there is a culture wherein crime is not taken as seriously. He pointed to the killing of Orange Police Officer Kieran Shields last year whose alleged shooter was allowed to roam free after a number of previous arrests and pending charges.
“We need to put an end to this culture once and for all. I’m hoping the Attorney General will help us do just that by ending this culture in both our court system and our prosecution system,” added Sen. Codey.
Sen. Codey was responding to news reports that suspect Jose Carranza was allowed to have his bail reduced several times in the past year on separate charges of felony aggravated assault and sexual assault and child rape. Rodolfo Godinez, a second suspect whom authorities are still seeking, was previously arrested on robbery and assault charges and was allowed to plead guilty to lesser charges and remain in the United States.
“Here you have two suspects, both of whom are believed to be in this country illegally, and they’re arrested on serious charges and one of them is allowed to have his bail reduced and the other was reportedly allowed to plea to lesser charges. If this is true, someone clearly dropped the ball here, and now three good kids are gone and another is seriously wounded.”