A high-profile Dover NJ murder case ended with the defendant being found guilty of aggravated manslaughter – but not murder – in a beating death.
The jury determined that Roman Pacheco was legally responsible for the death of Edwin Chavez, who was killed in an altercation outside a Dover bar in 2011.
Prosecutors argued that Pacheco hit Chavez twice in the chest with a large metal pole. At the time, prosecutors said, Chavez was unconscious and lying in the street.
Chavez had been ejected from the bar after getting into a fight inside the establishment. Prosecutors said that Pacheco was angry at Chavez for touching his wife’s rear end while inside the bar.
Pacheco’s defense attorney argued that Chavez died as a result of a punch thrown by another individual. However, the jury deliberated for just four hours before rendering its verdict.
Under NJ law, aggravated manslaughter is punishable by a sentence of between 10 and 30 years in New Jersey State Prison. Although this is a significant penalty, things could have been far worse for Pacheco if he had been found guilty of murder. As set forth by N.J.S.A. 2C:11-3, a murder conviction can result in a sentence of 30 years to life in state prison.
A second defendant in the case will face aggravated assault charges in a separate trial.
For more information, see the NJ.com article entitled “Dover Man Found Guilty of Aggravated Manslaughter – Not Murder – in Beating Death.”