#Judge #weighs #dropping #charges #N.J #man #family #affair #killing
The brother of a Totowa man accused of beating a 38-year-old Paterson woman to death on Monday asked a state judge to dismiss charges that he helped dispose of the dead woman’s body.
Ali Fisher appeared in Passaic County Superior Court on a motion to dismiss the indictment that charges him with taking part in his family’s grisly, impromptu plot to remove the battered body of Stephanie DeJesus from a Totowa apartment after she was bludgeoned to death on the night of Feb. 23, allegedly by Fisher’s brother, Justin.
Ali Fisher’s attorney, John McMahon, argued that although his client was at the Gordon Avenue apartment that night in the aftermath of the killing, he had no role whatsoever in disposing of the dead woman’s remains. Fisher’s brothers Ali Gibson and Clo Fisher, and their parents have been indicted for allegedly helping Justin remove DeJesus’ body from the apartment and stuffing it the trunk of a white SUV.
The SUV was discovered two days later parked on a Paterson street with blood dripping from the trunk. Justin Fisher has been indicted for first-degree murder, weapons possession, and illegal disposal of human remains and is locked up and awaiting trial.
In court on Monday, McMahon tried to convince Judge Niccollai that Ali Fisher had no role in the hastily-hatched plot to get rid of the body, a grisly case that attorneys say was a “family affair.”
“Ali Fisher did absolutely nothing,” McMahon told Judge Justine Niccollai.
The state’s star witness is Joelle Martucci, Justin Fisher’s girlfriend and the mother of the couple’s infant child. Martucci, also initially charged with disposing of human remains, accepted a plea deal in exchange for her testimony.
McMahon told the judge that Martucci told investigators on March 10 that Fisher stayed in the foyer and never entered the apartment where DeJesus’ body lay on the floor and other family members figured out what do with her. Martucci said they eventually shielded the body with cardboard and brought her downstairs and put her in the SUV.
McMahon argued that Martucci’s statement was exculpatory evidence that would have exonerated Ali Fisher of any wrongdoing and should have been presented to the grand jury.
“The state wants us to believe that just because he’s there, he’s guilty,” McMahon said. “And we know that’s not true.”
Assistant Prosecutor Jonathan Barrera countered that although Ali Fisher never entered the apartment, he could have served as a lookout. Plus, he added, the grand jury’s role isn’t to determine guilt or innocence but merely to determine whether there was enough evidence to support criminal charges.
Barrera said that the grand jury could “reasonably infer” that while Ali Fisher was in the house, he “assisted” in the plot to move the woman’s remains.
The judge expressed concern that the state hadn’t given the grand jury the full picture.
She plans to render her decision at the next hearing on September 28.
Meanwhile, Justin Fisher remains in Bergen County Jail, awaiting trial on charges of first-degree murder, weapons possession and desecration of human remains.
Our journalism needs your support.
Please subscribe today to NJ.com.Richard Cowen may be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.
|Read More Latest News From United States of New Jersey|