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Re: Murder at Portside
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Man in prison for 2007 murder in Downtown Jersey City will get new trial

A man serving a 30-year prison sentence for killing a man inside a Downtown Jersey City luxury high rise will get a new trial after the state’s appellate division ruled that jurors were not told they could consider the possibility the killing was in self-defense.

The appellate decision, which was issued Thursday, means Zia Berisha will again stand trial for the murder of Michael Marro Jr., 39, who was found dead in his Warren Street home on Nov. 6, 2007.

Berisha’s trial attorney’s “failure to request a jury instruction on this defense prejudiced defendant’s right to a fair trial,” the appellate court ruled.

https://www.nj.com/hudson/2019/02/man- ... y-will-get-new-trial.html


Posted on: 2/13 11:23
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Re: Police Outside Portside Today?
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Zia Berisha receives 30 years for the murder of a Jersey City man

By Michaelangelo Conte/The Jersey Journal
May 27, 2010, 11:01AM

Zia Berisha, the man convicted in the robbery and murder of Michael Marro of Downtown Jersey City, has been sentenced to 30 years with no chance of parole.

The sentence will be served consecutive to his 14-year federal sentence for drug crimes.

Marro's sister, Elizabeth A. Marro, asked the judge to impose the maximum sentence, saying that her mother "surely died from a broken heart" since the murder.

"Today and for the rest of my life, I mourn the loss of my brother, my friend and protector, " said Elizabeth Marro said. "He comes to me in my dreams sometimes and I feel his presence every Saturday when I visit his grave."

Posted on: 2010/5/28 1:30
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MURDER CASE TO JURY

Monday, February 15, 2010
By MICHAELANGELO CONTE
JOURNAL STAFF WRITER

2 accused of beating and shooting man in luxury home

A Hudson County jury is weighing the fate of two men charged in the brutal murder of a Jersey City man in his 15th floor luxury apartment on the waterfront.

On Thursday a jury began deliberations in the murder trial of Zia Berisha, 35, of Linden and his alleged accomplice, Agim Gjonbalahj, 34, of Brooklyn, who are charged with the Nov. 6, 2007 murder of Michael Marro, 39. The victim was bludgeoned and shot in the head in his Warren Street home.

Prosecutors say Marro was killed in a robbery gone bad and high-grade marijuana was a factor in the relationship of the defendants and victim. He was beaten so badly that it wasn't until the autopsy that it was learned he had also been shot in the head, officials said. The medical examiner testified Marro suffered a fractured skull, facial fractures and bruising on his body.

There were signs of a struggle in the apartment and evidence it was ransacked and a safe had been moved, DeFazio said. Prosecutors say Marro may have been beaten in an effort to get him to reveal where valuables were hidden.

The prosecution called 22 witnesses, mostly law enforcement officers, DNA experts and phone company officials. Prosecutors told the jury that Marro's blood was on Berisha's jacket when Berisha was arrested in Elizabeth shortly after the murder and Gjonbalahj's blood was found on Marro's doorknob.

Gjonbalahj took the witness stand and testified he and Berisha were in Marro's apartment that night and Berisha was to sell the victim a half pound of marijuana. He said Berisha and the victim were arguing about something when Marro took out a gun. Gjonbalahj said there was a scuffle between Marro and Berisha during which Marro's gun went off, killing Marro.

Gjonbalahj said his blood was left behind after accidentally cutting his hand while trying to get Berisha out of Marro's apartment.

Marro was shot in the back of the head. While cross examining Gjonbalahj, the prosecutor worked to show the jury that it was unlikely Marro would have suffered such a wound during a scuffle.

Berisha was pulled over in Elizabeth for speeding and making an illegal U-turn within an hour of the murder and he was arrested after police found he had a small quantity of marijuana. Later police realized that watches found in Berisha's car belonged to Marro and the prosecution's case began to take shape.

Both defendants are charged with murder, felony murder, armed robbery and weapons offenses. They face 30 years to life if convicted in the killing. Jury deliberations will resume at 9 a.m. on Tuesday in the courtroom of Superior Court Judge Joseph V. Isabella.

========================

Defendant previously sentenced for drugs

Monday, February 15, 2010
By MICHAELANGELO CONTE
JOURNAL STAFF WRITER

Accused murderer Zia Berisha was sentenced to 14 years in prison in October on drug-related charges by a federal judge who called him a career criminal and noted his prior convictions for aggravated assault drug distribution.

When Berisha pleaded guilty in Camden on Jan. 9, 2009 he admitted that on May 8, 2006, he bought 4,000 ecstasy pills in Brooklyn for $14,000. He also admitted that on June 20, 2006, he sold approximately 1,300 ecstasy pills to a person in Linden for about $5,000. The buyer was cooperating with the FBI.

FBI agents had been investigating Berisha's drug-dealing activity for several months when he was arrested in Elizabeth on Nov. 7, 2007 after being pulled over for a traffic violation. Officers found drugs, cash and expensive watches in his car and later determined one belonged to murder victim Michael Marro.

Posted on: 2010/2/15 9:49
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Re: Police Outside Portside Today?
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New Jersey Man Facing Murder Charges Sentenced for Drug Distribution

American Chronicle
October 03, 2009

CAMDEN—A Linden man who is also facing murder charges in Hudson County was sentenced today to 176 months in federal prison for his role in an ecstasy distribution conspiracy, Acting U.S. Attorney Ralph J. Marra, Jr., announced.

In imposing sentence, U.S. District Judge Robert B. Kugler found Zia Berisha, 35, to be a career offender, and cited Berisha´s prior state convictions for aggravated assault and drug distribution.

Berisha has been detained since his arrest on Nov. 7, 2007. On Jan. 9, 2009, Berisha pleaded guilty before Judge Kugler to a one-count Information that charged him with conspiracy to distribute 3,4-methylenedioxymethamphetamine, commonly known as ecstasy.

At the plea hearing, Berisha admitted that on May 8, 2006, he bought 4,000 ecstasy pills from individuals in Brooklyn, N.Y. for $14,000. He also admitted that on June 20, 2006, he sold approximately 1,300 ecstasy pills to an individual in Linden for approximately $5,000. That individual was actually a cooperating witness working with the FBI.

FBI agents had been investigating Berisha´s drug-dealing activity for several months when he was arrested in Elizabeth on Nov. 7, 2007. Berisha was pulled over by Elizabeth police officers for a traffic violation, and officers found drugs, cash and several expensive watches in Berisha´s car. Berisha also had outstanding arrest warrants for probation violations at that time.



Later that same day, Michael Marro, 39, was found beaten and shot to death in his Jersey City apartment. The Hudson County Prosecutor´s Office soon charged Berisha with Marro´s murder after it was determined that one of the watches found in Berisha´s car belonged to Marro, and that Berisha and Marro had exchanged text messages the night of the murder. Another individual, Agim Gjonbalahj, 34, of Brooklyn, was arrested on Oct. 29, 2008, and has also been charged in Marro´s murder. The murder trial in state Superior Court is expected to take place in late 2009 or early 2010.

In determining the actual sentence, Judge Kugler consulted the advisory U.S. Sentencing Guidelines, which provide appropriate sentencing ranges that take into account the severity and characteristics of the offense, the defendant's criminal history, if any, and other factors. The judge, however, is not bound by those guidelines in determining a sentence. Parole has been abolished in the federal system. Defendants who are given custodial terms must serve nearly all that time.

Marra credited Special Agents of the FBI, under the direction of Special Agent in Charge Weysan Dun, for the investigation of Berisha. The government is represented by Assistant U.S. Attorney Jonathan W. Romankow

Posted on: 2009/10/4 9:41
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Re: Police Outside Portside Today?
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Jersey City highrise murder suspect sentenced to 14 years on Ecstasy drug charges

By The Jersey Journal
October 01, 2009, 4:45PM

Zia Berisha, who is facing a murder charge in Hudson County, has been sentenced to more than 14 years in federal prison for his role in an Ecstasy ring.A Linden man who is also facing murder charges in Hudson County was sentenced today to 14 years and eight months in federal prison for his role in an ecstasy distribution ring, acting U.S. Attorney Ralph J. Marra Jr. said.

In imposing sentence, U.S. District Judge Robert B. Kugler, sitting in Camden, found Zia Berisha, 35, to be a career offender, and cited Berisha's prior state convictions for aggravated assault and drug distribution.

Berisha is charged in the Nov. 6, 2007, murder of Michael Marro, 39, who was bludgeoned and shot in the head in his Portside Tower apartment at the foot of Warren Street in Jersey City.

The murder trial in state Superior Court is expected to take place later this year or early next year, the U.S. Attorney's Office said.

Berisha has been detained since his arrest on the drug charges on Nov. 7, 2007.

On Jan. 9, 2009, Berisha pleaded guilty before Judge Kugler to a one-count Information that charged him with conspiracy to distribute 3,4-methylenedioxymethamphetamine, commonly known as ecstasy. He could have been sentenced to 20 years in prison.

At the plea hearing, Berisha admitted that on May 8, 2006, he bought 4,000 ecstasy pills in Brooklyn for $14,000. He also admitted that on June 20, 2006, he sold approximately 1,300 ecstasy pills to a person in Linden for approximately $5,000. That person was a cooperating witness working with the FBI.

FBI agents had been investigating Berisha's drug-dealing activity for several months when he was arrested in Elizabeth on Nov. 7, 2007. Berisha was pulled over by Elizabeth police officers for a traffic violation, and officers found drugs, cash and several expensive watches in Berisha's car.

Later that same day, Marro's body was found in his Portside home.

When it was determined that one of the watches found in Berisha's car belonged to Marro, the Hudson County Prosecutor's Office charged Berisha with Marro's murder. It was also found that Berisha and Marro had exchanged text messages the night of the murder.

The murder charges were filed Nov. 15, 2007.

Another individual, Agim Gjonbalahj, 34, of Brooklyn, was arrested on Oct. 29, 2008, and has also been charged in Marro's murder. He is due to be arraigned on felony murder and murder charges on Oct. 13.

Berisha is to appear with Gjonbalahj in court on Oct. 19.

Posted on: 2009/10/1 21:27
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Re: Police Outside Portside Today? - Gun found near high-rise murder scene, cops say
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thanks for the updates grove path. Hopefully these thugs go away for some time.

Posted on: 2009/1/12 10:52
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Re: Police Outside Portside Today? - Gun found near high-rise murder scene, cops say
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Waterfront highrise murder suspect admits dealing ecstasy

by Michaelangelo Conte/The Jersey Journal
Friday January 09, 2009, 4:47 PM

Resized Image
Zia Berisha, who is charged with the murder of man bludgeoned and shot to death in the Portside development in Downtown Jersey City, pleaded guilty today to being an ecstasy dealer.

A man charged with murdering a Jersey City resident on the 15th floor of a waterfront high-rise faces up to 20 years in prison after pleading guilty in federal court today to dealing large quantities of ecstasy, officials said.

Zia Berisha, 34, of Linden admitted in federal court in Camden that on May 8, 2006 he bought 4,000 ecstasy pills in Brooklyn for $14,000, according to Michael Drewniak, spokesman for the U.S. Attorney's Office in Newark.

Resized Image
Michal Marro

Further, on June 20, 2006 he sold about 1,300 pills to someone in Linden for about $5,000, Drewniak said, adding that the person was a cooperating witness working with the FBI.

"The allegation would indicate that Mr. Berisha is involved in a pattern of illegal conduct," Hudson County Prosecutor Edward DeFazio said.

Berisha is charged in the Nov. 6, 2007 murder of Michael Marro, 39, who was bludgeoned and shot in the back of the head in his apartment in Portside Tower at the foot of Warren Street.

Berisha, aka "Z," was arrested by Elizabeth police hours after Marro's murder when drugs, thousands of dollars and expensive watches were found in his car following a traffic stop, officials said.

He was charged with Marro's murder after investigators found text messages between him and Marro from the night of the homicide, and found that Berisha had Marro's watch, DeFazio said.

Berisha has been jailed since his arrest, Drewniak said.

Agim Gjonbalahj, 34, of Brooklyn, was arrested on Oct. 29 and has also been charged in Marro's murder, officials said.

Gjonbalahj has been indicted on the charges of felony murder and robbery, DeFazio said, adding that Berisha has been indicted on numerous counts including murder.

The prosecutor said investigators believe Marro was murdered over money he owed, but he would not say who the money was owed to or why.

The investigation into Marro's death also led to the arrest of Berisha's brother, Shaerif, 35, also of Linden, on charges of tampering with evidence, hindering apprehension and obstructing justice, officials said.

Shaerif Berisha is not charged in Marro's murder, officials said.

Zia Berisha is scheduled to be sentenced on the drug charges on April 9.

Berisha and Gjonbalahj are expected to be tried for Marro's murder in the early part of this year, DeFazio said.

Posted on: 2009/1/9 23:01
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Re: Police Outside Portside Today? - Gun found near high-rise murder scene, cops say
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Suspect picked up 1 year later

Monday, November 03, 2008
By MICHAELANGELO CONTE
JOURNAL STAFF WRITER

A third suspect was arrested in Staten Island last week in connection to the murder of a Jersey City man last Nov. 6 in his 15th floor luxury apartment in Portside Tower on the Jersey City waterfront, officials said Friday.

Agim Gjonbalahj, 34, was arrested Wednesday on the charge of murdering Michael Marro, 39, who was beaten so badly that a gunshot wound in his head was not found until an autopsy was performed, Hudson County Prosecutor Edward DeFazio said.


Zia Barisha, aka "Z," of Linden, was arrested by Elizabeth police hours after the murder when drugs, thousands of dollars and expensive watches were found in his car, DeFazio said. He was charged with Marro's murder after investigators found text messages between him and Marro from the night of the homicide, and found that Barisha had Marro's watch, DeFazio said.

The murder investigation also led to the arrest of Barisha's brother, Shaerif Barisha, 35, of the same Linden address, on the charges of tampering with evidence, hindering apprehension and obstructing justice, DeFazio said. Shaerif Barisha is not charged in the murder, DeFazio said.

The prosecutor said investigators believe Marro was murdered over money he owed, but he would not say who the money was owed to or why. He said no additional arrests are expected, and would not say how Gjonbalahj was tied to the case.

Surveillance at Gjonbalahj's last known address in Brooklyn led investigators to a Staten Island woman thought to be his girlfriend, DeFazio said. On Wednesday, Gjonbalahj was spotted getting into his car on Narrows Road and was arrested without incident by agents of the U.S. Marshals Service and investigators from the prosecutor's office, DeFazio said. Gjonbalahj now awaits an extradition hearing in New York.

On Dec. 10 investigators found a revolver in the Morris Canal near Portside Tower but tests determined it is not the murder weapon, DeFazio said.

Posted on: 2008/11/3 8:44
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Re: Police Outside Portside Today? - Gun found near high-rise murder scene, cops say
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High-rise 'killer' before the judge

Thursday, January 31, 2008
By MICHAELANGELO CONTE
JOURNAL STAFF WRITER

The man charged with murder in the bludgeoning and shooting of a Jersey City man killed in his Downtown luxury high-rise apartment made his first appearance in court yesterday.

Zia Barisha's feet were shackled and his hands were cuffed to a chain around his waist when he was brought before a Central Judicial Processing judge in Jersey City on the charge of murdering Michael Marro, 39, on Nov. 6.

Barisha, 33, aka "Z," was pulled over in Elizabeth hours after the murder, and arrested after the cops found drugs, thousands of dollars, and some expensive watches in his car, Hudson County Prosecutor Edward DeFazio said.

But Barisha was not implicated in the murder until investigators discovered text messages between him and Marro from the night of the murder, and discovered Barisha was in possession of Marro's watch, DeFazio said.

Marro was killed in his 15th-floor apartment at the Portside Tower on Warren Street.

Barisha has been in the Union County jail in Elizabeth since his arrest and was dressed in beige prison garb yesterday morning, flanked by Union County and Hudson County sheriff's officers.

There were signs of a struggle in the apartment where the murder occurred and evidence it was ransacked during what police believed was a robbery turned deadly, DeFazio said.

Marro was beaten so badly that it wasn't until the autopsy that it was learned he had been shot in the head, officials said.

Told last night of Barisha's appearance in court, Marro's sister, Elizabeth Marro, said, "Naturally, it makes me happy."

She added, "I wish they would have advised us on what is going on. There has been no information given to us by the police or the prosecutor and it sort of disturbs me because we would have been there."

DeFazio responded that "the contact person for the family will be notified of any appearances in the Superior Court," as the prosecution proceeds.

"Maybe this specific member of the family was not notified," he said, adding that his office has had numerous contacts with the victim's father.

He also said that Barisha's appearance was arranged on short notice due to security issues.

Barisha's brother, Shaerif Barisha, 35, who lives with him, has been charged with tampering with evidence, hindering apprehension and obstructing justice, DeFazio said.

Shaerif Barisha has not been charged in the murder but rather with trying "to conceal or destroy evidence," DeFazio said.

Investigators don't believe Shaerif Barisha was in Marro's apartment at the time of the murder, but they do think there was someone with Zia Barisha and are working to identify that man.

On Dec. 10, investigators found a revolver in the Morris Canal a short distance from the high-rise, officials said. Information developed in the murder investigation led police to the gun and it is being tested to determine if it was the murder weapon, DeFazio said.

Zia Barisha has been ordered held without bail on the murder charge and he was to be returned to Union County jail.

Posted on: 2008/1/31 10:37
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Re: Police Outside Portside Today? - Gun found near high-rise murder scene, cops say
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Gun found near high-rise murder scene, cops say

Michaelangelo Conte
Monday December 10, 2007, 5:12 PM

FBI divers found a revolver in the Morris Canal in Downtown Jersey City yesteday, police said, near the luxury high-rise where a man was murdered on the 15th floor on Nov. 6.

Divers found the gun in 10-foot deep water about 25 feet from the foot of Warren Street, near Portside Tower, where Michael Marro, 39, was bludgeoned and shot in the back of the head, Hudson County Prosecutor Edward DeFazio said.

The prosecutor said the search was triggered by information developed in the investigation and it was done on a Sunday because of reduced boat traffic on the canal. The gun will be tested for ballistics to determine if it was used in the murder, DeFazio said.

Zia Barisha, of Linden, has been charged in the murder, DeFazio said. His brother Shaerif Barisha, 35, of the same address as his brother, has been arrested and charged with tampering with evidence, hindering apprehension and obstructing justice, DeFazio said. Shaerif Barisha has not been charged in the murder.

There were signs of a struggle and evidence the apartment had been ransacked during what police believed was a robbery turned deadly, DeFazio said.

FBI divers from New York were assisted by the New Jersey State Police Marine Unit.

Posted on: 2007/12/10 18:39
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Man charged in high-rise murder

Jersey Journal
by Michaelangelo Conte
Thursday November 15

Police have charged a Linden man with the murder of Michael Marro, who was shot in the back of the head and beaten in his 15th floor apartment at the Portside Tower on the Jersey City waterfront.

Zia Barisha was in the Union County jail - having been found with drugs in Elizabeth just hours after the Nov. 6 murder - when he was charged this morning with Marro's killing, Hudson County County Prosecutor Edward DeFazio said.

"It was a complex investigation to bring things together," said DeFazio.

Barisha was pulled over hours after the murder and was jailed on unrelated charges after police found drugs on him. It was not immediately clear what those charges were or what led investigators to suspect him in the murder.

Posted on: 2007/11/15 16:27
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Re: Police Outside Portside Today?
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Highrise murder victim was shot in the head, police say
by Michaelangelo Conte
Thursday November 08, 2007, 1:47 PM

An autopsy has determined the man found dead in a Jersey City luxury high rise yesterday had been shot in the back of the head, as well as bludgeoned, as was initially reported.

"We believe the suspect was acquainted with the victim and that this could have been a dispute over money owed," Hudson County Prosecutor Edward DeFazio said of the murder of Michael Marro, 39.


Marro was found dead in his 15th floor apartment in Portside Tower at about 3 p.m. yesterday by his father, who was checking on Marro because he had not shown up for work yesterday, DeFazio said.

Marro works at a South Kearny trucking company owned by his father, DeFazio said, adding that he lived alone.

When homicide detectives arrived at the bloody scene they found Marro's badly beaten body near a door in the apartment leading to a balcony, DeFazio said. The bullet wound was not found until an autopsy was performed at the state Regional Medical Examiner's Office in Newark, DeFazio said, adding that his office was notified by the medical examiner this morning.

The preliminary autopsy report is expected later today, DeFazio said, adding that the cause of death will be determined by the autopsy.

Investigators recovered security video from the high-rise and DeFazio said the images captured were helpful but do not give a positive identification of the killer, at least not at this point.

He would not give further details.

Homicide detectives think the murder occurred late Tuesday night and say Marro was seen earlier that evening, DeFazio said. Studio apartments in the 17-story building begin at $1,800 a month and apartments run from $2,400 to $6,000, according to the Web site for the building.

"We are working with police and have no information to release," Building Leasing Consultant Mike Leibowitz said this morning. "As soon as we do, we will release it to residents and will make it avalable to the press."

Posted on: 2007/11/8 14:26
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Re: Police Outside Portside Today?
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Quote:

jerseymom wrote:
Imagine if you had a child in that school that's attached to the building.


I probably wouldn't be any more or less disturbed than I am right now, considering that I stay home with my child all day and live right next to Portside.

Sort of a strange coincidence that last week Linda Stein was found bludgeoned to death in her Manhattan apartment.

Posted on: 2007/11/8 7:49
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Yes - my thoughts exactly Robin. The deli is on the corner of the building, closest to the Dudley/Warren Street intersection. Portside is also a quick jump from the drunk driving accident on Halloween that also occurred on Warren.

Posted on: 2007/11/8 7:05
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Re: Police Outside Portside Today?
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Is this is the building in which the deli was robbed a few days ago?

Robin.

Posted on: 2007/11/7 23:50
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Imagine if you had a child in that school that's attached to the building.

Posted on: 2007/11/7 20:36
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Re: Police Outside Portside Today?
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Great. Now I am COMPLETELY freaked out.

Posted on: 2007/11/7 19:40
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Update: Man found bludgeoned in high-rise home
by Michaelangelo Conte

Wednesday November 07, 2007, 7:00 PM

A man was found today bludgeoned in his high-rise home near the Jersey City waterfront, officials said.

Michael Marro, 39, was found around 3 p.m. in his apartment on the 15th floor of the Portside Tower building at the foot of Warren Street on the Morris Canal, near Liberty State Park, Hudson County Prosecutor Edward DeFazio said.

Marro's body was found by his father near the door leading to the luxury apartment's balcony, DeFazio said. The elder Marro went to check on his son, who did not show up for work today. Marro and his father worked together, but officials would not say what kind of work they did. Marro dead

He had visible blunt force trauma to his head and face and was apparently bludgeoned to death, but investigators are not yet sure what weapon was used, DeFazio said. The motive for the murder has not yet been determined and robbery has not been ruled out, DeFazio said, adding that there were signs of struggle.

There are numerous security cameras in the building and homicide detectives are in the process of getting the security camera recordings, DeFazio said, adding that there is a doorman, but there is more than one exit.

There were no signs of forced entry into the apartment, DeFazio said, adding that Marro lived alone and he was seen in the building on Tuesday night. It is not yet clear if the crime was committed by one person or by more than one person, DeFazio said.

The cause of death will not be known definitively until an autopsy is performed at the state Regional Medical Examiner's Office in Newark.

Anyone with information on the crime is asked to call the Hudson County Prosecutor's Office's Homicide Squad at (201) 915-1345.

Posted on: 2007/11/7 19:34
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Shit! I had hoped the guy died of natural causes. That is horrible.

Posted on: 2007/11/7 18:21
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Report: High rise homicide in Jersey City
by Michaelangelo Conte Wednesday November 07, 2007, 4:27 PM

Homicide investigators have been dispatched to a Downtown Jersey City high rise where a man was found bludgeoned to death today, officials said.

Detectives were dispatched to the Portside Tower, 100 Warren St., at 3:15 p.m. and they found the adult male dead, apparently of blunt force trauma, Hudson County Prosecutor Edward DeFazio said.



Investigators believe a weapon was used in the killing but they have not yet determined what it was, DeFazio said.

No additional information is available.

Anyone with information on the crime is asked to call the Hudson County Prosecutor's Office's Homicide Squad at (201) 915-1345.

Posted on: 2007/11/7 18:05
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Murder at Portside
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There were a bunch of police cars outside Portside this afternoon. Someone said that somebody died? Anyone know what happened?

Posted on: 2007/11/7 17:29

Edited by Webmaster on 2010/5/28 1:37:17
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