US Prosecution says it has video of Dominican stabbing his wife to death in N.J. -- A Jersey City man accused of stabbing his wife to death inside his apartment building could face a potentially damning piece of evidence: surveillance camera footage that shows the gruesome murder, the prosecution said. 

Jose Morel, 59, of Duncan Avenue, was ordered detained throughout the course of his prosecution today when he stood before a Hudson County Superior Court judge for a detention hearing.  

Hudson County Assistant Prosecutor Leo Rinaldi said today in court that Morel also gave a statement to police admitting he fatally stabbed his wife, Milagros Rodriguez De Morel, 38, in the hallway outside their apartment early on Oct. 18.

Accused of stabbing wife 44 times, will man remain jailed before trial?

Accused of stabbing wife 44 times, will man remain jailed before trial?

A detention hearing will be held on Monday for the 59-year-old Jersey City man charged with stabbing his wife to death as her teenage son attempted to come to her aid on Oct. 18.


Rinaldi said the video shows Morel stabbing his wife over the course of three minutes before dropping a 9-inch knife and returning to their apartment. The prosecutor said Morel told his wife's 15-year-old son to call police.

When officers arrived, the boy led them to the apartment where they found Morel had blood on him and took him into custody. An autopsy determined Milagros Rodriguez De Morel died of stab wounds to her head, neck and torso, Rinaldi said.

When The Jersey Journal went to the building where the woman was killed, a security camera was pointed directly in the spot where an eyewitness said Morel committed the murder.

In arguing for Morel's release pending trial, Deputy Public Defender Joseph Russo noted his client's only other brush with the law was when he was charged with attempted murder in Alaska in 1979.

Russo said Morel pleaded guilty to a "non-aggravated assault" and served 17 days of incarceration. He also noted that Morel is a U.S. citizen and received the lowest possible score on his public safety assessment, which gauges the likelihood that a defendant will commit a crime or fail to appear at court hearings following their release from custody. 

The defense attorney said Morel had been a colonel in the Dominican Republic army and earned a college degree in Florida. He said his client is a union leader at the New York City building where he has been a doorman for 30 years, adding that Morel owns a condo valued at $200,000.

Russo told Hudson County Superior Court Judge Paul DePascale that based on Morel's ties to the community, a very limited criminal record and his PSA score, he should be released.

But DePascale noted that under New Jersey's new Criminal Reform Law, there is a presumption of detention for someone charged with murder.

"The state's case as set forth by the prosecution, if admissible as evidence, will be problematic for the defendant and will expose him to a very long term in state prison for the first time in his life," DePascale said. "Certainly, if released, he would have very little to lose..."

The judge also noted Morel's age and that he is facing a possible sentence of 30 years to life in prison before ordering him detained.

Go back | Date: 03 Nov 2017
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