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Lakewood Township Man Guilty of First Degree Attempted Murder and Related Weapons Charges

Ocean County Prosecutor Joseph D. Coronato announced today that an Ocean County Jury has found a Lakewood Township man guilty of first degree attempted murder and related weapons charges.

On Wednesday October21, 2015, an Ocean County Jury seated before the Honorable Patricia B. Roe, J.S.C., found defendant Marco Tulio Alvarez Lopez guilty of first degree attempted murder and related weapons charges.

The charges stem from August 23, 2014, in Lakewood Township. Officer Kevin Seunath responded to a stabbing at 346 Laurel Avenue. He found the victim, Mario Vasquez, on his hands and knees in front of the house, bleeding profusely from his abdominal area. Officer Seunath learned that Vasquez had been stabbed by his roommate, later identified as defendant. Vasquez was taken to Jersey Shore Medical Center where he underwent immediate surgery for life-threatening injuries. Vasquez’s treating surgeon testified at trial that the surgery was necessary to save Vasquez’s life.

Back at the scene, officers canvassed the area for suspects and collected evidence. Detectives from the Prosecutor’s Office and the Lakewood Township Police Department learned that earlier that evening, Vasquez’s roommate was upstairs in their shared bedroom with a friend drinking. When Vasquez entered the room to change out of his work clothes, his roommate asked him for $50. When Vasquez refused, his roommate came back with a large kitchen knife and stabbed him. Detective Stephen Capoano from the Ocean County Sheriff’s Department’s Crime Scene Unit recovered the knife which was missing its handle and still covered in blood.

About two (2) and one-half hours after the stabbing, officers observed a shirtless Hispanic male on the front steps of the residence. He was covered in fresh wounds consistent with hiding in a dark wooded area — like the one that was located behind the residence. The male was interviewed by Ocean County Prosecutor’s Office Lieutenant Carlos Trujillo-Tovar and Lakewood Detective Craig Fink. During the interview, the detectives learned that defendant was Vasquez’s roommate, but defendant denied the stabbing.

In her closing statement, Assistant Prosecutor Jamie L. Schron argued to the jury that defendant had the purpose to kill when he took a deadly weapon and plunged it into an area of Vasquez’s body containing many vital organs and then left him alone, upstairs to die. Defendant was represented by Assistant Public Defender Kelly Toner, who argued that Vasquez’s identification was unreliable.

Defendant is facing up to 20 years in New Jersey State Prison and must serve at least 85 percent of any custodial term imposed by the Judge at sentencing. The defendant’s bail was discharged upon the return of the guilty verdict and the Court ordered that he be held without bail pending sentencing.

Sentencing is scheduled for December 18, 2015.

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