WALDWICK, N.J. -- A prosecutor in Hackensack on Monday said she hoped to secure plea deals from an undocumented Salvadoran husband and wife from Waldwick who were involved in a violent fight when his mother died while their 7-year-old child watched.
The cases against Claudia Hernandez, 25, and her husband, Juan Martinez- Rojas, 29, "can likely be resolved, given time," Assistant Bergen County Prosecutor Danielle Grootenboer told the judge.
Defense attorney Luis Acevedo told Daily Voice that Hernandez was offered seven years in state prison.
It was nearly a year ago, authorities said, that Hernandez knocked down Ana Angelina Rojas-Jovel as she tried to break up a fight between the couple.
Rojas-Jovel, 46, then suffered a heart attack and died.
Hernandez faces manslaughter and aggravated assault charges, in addition to child neglect, destroying evidence and lying to police.
Martinez- Rojas has received an offer of five years in exchange for a guilty plea. He is charged with child endangerment and lying to investigators.
Both will be deported once they are released.
The couple were “punching and scratching each other” after returning overnight to their first-floor Waldwick Avenue home from a party when Rojas-Jovel intervened, Bergen County Prosecutor John L. Molinelli said hours after their arrests.
Hernandez Soriano assaulted the woman, sending her into cardiac arrest, then “concealed items of evidence [that] were later found during a search of the crime scene,” the prosecutor said at the time. These included clumps of the victims hair, authorities later revealed.
Waldwick police responding to their 911 call found the victim dead on a bedroom floor, he said.
Molinelli’s detectives interviewed witnesses, including the child.
Superior Court Judge Frances A. McGrogan allowed Grootenboer to request the samples for DNA testing. Both Acevedo and Anthony Alfano, the attorney for Martinez-Rojas, said they would discuss the demand with their clients and give the prosecutor an answer by Friday.
Should they refuse, she can request the judge order release of the samples.
McGrogan ordered all to return to court Dec. 14.
Both continued to be held in the Bergen County Jail -- Hernandez on $250,000 bail and Martinez $75,000.
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