ONLY ON CVP: An apologetic Wyckoff man already serving six years in state prison for his role in a baseball-bat bashing of his then-girlfriend’s ex during a robbery got a break from a judge in Hackensack today for leading police on a high-speed chase.
Superior Court Judge Edward A. Jerejian not only shaved a plea-bargained sentence from six to five years for Daniel Chaupiz, 22. The judge also allowed him to serve it at the same time as his current prison term.
As a result, Chaupiz could be free in a little over two years after spending a few months behind bars.
“I apologize for my actions,” he told the judge. “My parents raised me well, I had a good life, and promise, studying to be a CPA. I had a bright future. I worked a 9 – 5 like most people, I never sold drugs or did anything illegal.”
Chaupiz had a petty criminal history that came to a head when he was charged with masterminding a July 2012 robbery and attack on his lover’s ex-boyfriend.
He was sentenced to four years, as was one of his accomplices, Samer “Martin” Saleh of Waldwick, who wielded a bat and pipe in the attack.
The girlfriend, Margaux H. Tocci of Wyckoff — whose smiling mugshot went viral — was sentenced to a year in the Bergen County Jail.
A fourth participant, Jesse Moscatello, of Oakland, got probation.
Before that case was completed, Chaupiz was in trouble again.
Wyckoff Patrolman Kyle Ferreira tried to stop him for driving erratically on Wyckoff Avenue in the early morning hours of Jan. 3 when Chaupiz sped off. The weather and road conditions forced Ferreira to break off the pursuit before Ridgewood police picked it up.
Officers then tracked Chaupiz to local home, the owner denied them entry, they said. Chaupiz, knowing a warrant was out for his arrest, later surrendered at police headquarters.
He pleaded guilty in the case in July.
His time so far in state prison in Annandale has taught him a lot, Chaupiz told the judge this morning.
“Where I am is where the last two violent deaths in the New Jersey penal system occurred,” he said. “At night you hear people being beaten, you hear their screams.
” The worst is the silence after, and then the pool of blood being cleaned up.”
Chaupiz said he’s become a target in prison because he isn’t a member of any organized gang.
“I’m not an established criminal,” he said. “I’m taking two courses. One is transitional, to get back to society. The other is about lawful living.”
Chaupiz told the judge he wasn’t thinking clearly when he ran from police.
“People I went to school with can’t believe I’m in prison,” he said. “When my violin teacher found out, she thought it must be a mistake.
“Prior to eluding the police in Wyckoff, I was fighting the other charges against me — and those two years were the most stressful of my life, until I actually went to jail,” Chaupiz said.
“There were many times, especially in the three months before I was sentenced, I was sitting with a drink in my hand wondering if it was worth living,” he said. “That was the mindset I had when I committed this crime.
“I won’t let this experience change me. I will pursue my degree when I get out,” Chaupiz told Jerejian. “I’m asking you have mercy on me, and my sentence.”
Assistant Bergen County Prosecutor Keith Travers, meanwhile, argued for the longer term, emphasizing that someone could have been killed or injured during the chase.
“When the police signaled him to stop, he did a 360 in a Jeep and then continued going, narrowly missing a catastrophic accident,” Tanzer said. “He simply refused to stop when signaled by police.”
The sentence “is a benefit to him,” the prosecutor said, “because it will run at the same time as his current four years.”
The judge, for his part, said Chaupiz’ background, in a way, worked against him.
“He should know better. He comes from a good family,” Jerejian said.
Turning to Chaupiz, he said: “You are 22 years old. You already have three indictable convictions — and at your age, that’s not easy to do.”
Jerejian also said that, as a judge, he should deter Chaupiz and others from such crimes.
In the end, though, he was lenient.
“Hopefully, what you are saying here today isn’t just words,” the judge said.
Click here to sign up for Daily Voice's free daily emails and news alerts.