A Long Branch man was arraigned Monday after being indicted by a Monmouth County grand jury last month on charges of murder and weapons offenses, announced Acting Monmouth County Prosecutor Christopher J. Gramiccioni.
Victor Garzon-Alvarez, 31, of Long Branch, was arraigned Monday before Monmouth County Superior Court Judge Francis J. Vernoia, P.J.Cr. after a Monmouth County Grand Jury handed up a three-count indictment on Feb. 24 charging him with one count of first degree Murder, one count of fourth degree Unlawful Possession of a Weapon and one count of third degree Possession of a Weapon for an Unlawful Purpose.
If convicted of murder, Garzon-Alvarez faces life imprisonment with a mandatory 30-year period of parole ineligibility. He additionally faces up to 18 months in state prison on the Unlawful Possession of a Weapon charge, and up to five years in State Prison on the Possession of a Weapon for an Unlawful Purpose charge.
He is currently held in the Monmouth County Correctional Institution in lieu of $1,575,000 bail set by Monmouth County Superior Court Judge James J. McGann, J.S.C.
The lifeless body of thirty-nine-year-old Manuel Vilaseca-Cortez, of Long Branch, a native of El Salvador and father of five children, was found after Long Branch police received a 911 call around 4:20 p.m. reporting the discovery of an unresponsive male in a Willow Avenue basement on January 3, 2013.
Law enforcement officers found the deceased victim, covered by a blanket, on top of two rolls of carpet padding that served as a bed for tenant Victor Garzon-Alvarez. Garzon-Alvarez, who shared the basement dwelling with another man, had not been seen by any of the residents of the premises for several days prior to the finding, according to police.
An autopsy revealed Vilaseca-Cortez sustained numerous injuries: two stab wounds to the chest, two to the left side of the abdomen, one to the neck, one to the left elbow, and blunt force trauma to the left hand. The cause of death was determined to be one of the stab wounds to the chest.
A joint investigation by the Monmouth County Prosecutor’s Office, Long Branch Police Department, and U.S. Marshal’s Office led to Garzon-Alvarez on Jan. 16, 2013, where he was arrested.
The investigation ultimately revealed Garzon-Alvarez and the victim were acquaintances who spent the early morning hours of New Year’s Day in the basement dwelling. An altercation ensued resulting in Garzon-Alvarez stabbing the victim to death. Garzon-Alvarez, who was not wounded during the incident, placed the victim on his sleeping area before fleeing the residence.
Despite these charges, every defendant is presumed innocent, unless and until found guilty beyond a reasonable doubt, following a trial at which the defendant has all of the trial rights guaranteed by the U.S. Constitution and State law.
The case is being prosecuted by Monmouth County Assistant Prosecutors Stacy Handler and Julia Alonso. The defendant is represented by Van Lane, Esq., of Freehold.