Saturday, November 17, 2007

Three Accused in Homicide

Three young city men are in police custody, two charged with murder, after an investigation into the Nov. 4 beating death of Guatemalan immigrant Lazaro Tista.

Muhammad Glasper, 20, of 432 E. Sixth St. and Gregory M. Greene Jr., 19, of 1276 Oxford Ave. have each been charged with first degree murder, felony murder, first degree bias intimidation and first degree robbery. They were arrested at 5:30 a.m. Monday and are each being held on $1 million bail in the city jail, awaiting transfer to the Union County Jail.

Willie Anthony Greene, 18, also of 1276 Oxford Ave., was charged with first degree robbery, first degree bias intimidation and third degree hindering apprehension. He is being held on $40,000 bail, which may be set higher on the robbery and bias intimidation charges.

Law enforcement officials credited Union County Prosecutor Michael Henn with guiding the investigation. According to a press release Saturday, Plainfield Detectives Edwin Rivera and Johnny Henderson and Union County Investigator Jorge Jimenez led the investigation and received arrest warrant approvals Friday. Further charges may emerge from the ongoing investigation, police said.

Lazaro Tista was walking home to North Plainfield early on Nov. 4 when he was attacked. His body was found in the 10 block of Grove Street. After the homicide, Latin American Coalition President Flor Gonzalez raised funds to send his body back to Guatemala, where his wife and seven of his eight children live.

The community effort allowed a wake to be held for Mr. Tista at the Salvation Army building on Watchung Avenue Friday. His body will be flown to Guatemala Monday, police said.

Union County Prosecutor Theodore Romankow stressed a “zero tolerance” for violent crimes and said any bias crime will incur “significant enhanced penalties.”

Police said Mr. Tista’s family was grateful for the investigation and arrests and will continue to be informed of developments in the case.

--Bernice Paglia


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