Teens bragged about fatally beating Old Bridge man, authorities say
Published: Tuesday, November 02, 2010, 8:10 AM Updated: Tuesday, November 02, 2010, 2:40 PM
OLD BRIDGE — Minutes after allegedly attacking an Old Bridge computer scientist out for a late-night walk with his family, two of the five teenagers charged in his fatal beating were bragging to each other about what they had done and how much they enjoyed it, authorities said.
“My hand’s definitely broken no lie. I never hit an N-word so hard,” Christopher Conway texted Julian Daley, according to a transcript of the text conversation as read by Assistant Middlesex County Prosecutor Christopher Kuberiet. In the transcript, Kuberiet uses the phrase “n-word” rather than the actual racial epithet.
“I will but yo, tomorrow night, you down again?” Daley texted back.
Then, about a half hour later, Conway texts Daley: “LMAO (laughing my ass off) highlight of my life.”
A full transcript of the conversation between Conway, 17, and Daley, 16, was read aloud at a Sept. 17 hearing in Family Court in New Brunswick during which the two teens, along with Christian Tinli, 18, Cash Johnson, 17, and Steven Contreras, 17, were ordered to face murder charges in adult court in the death of 49-year-old Divyendu Sinha.
Superior Court Judge Jane Cantor released an audiotape of the hearing to The Star Ledger and the Home News Tribune on Friday. It was made available to the newspapers yesterday.
“Five young men … went on a wilding spree for no apparent purpose,” Kuberiet told the judge during the hearing, describing the events that occurred the night of June 25.
He said the five boys, all of whom attended Old Bridge High School, got into a car and eventually ended up on Fela Drive, where they spotted Sinha, his wife, and two sons walking in front of their home at about 11:30 p.m.
“Four of them got out of the car. One of them tapped Mr. Sinha on the shoulder and said, “I gotta talk to you,” Kuberiet said.
Then they attacked the man, beating him so severely he died four days later at Robert Wood Johnson University Hospital in New Brunswick.
Sinha’s sons suffered minor injuries in the attack, but his wife, Alka, was uninjured.
Kuberiet said the teenagers had “their beer muscles on,” and had assaulted another motorist prior to the attack on Sinha.
LISTEN TO THE AUDIO: Middlesex County Assistant Prosecutor Christopher Kuberiet describes the attack on Sinha
LISTEN TO THE AUDIO: Middlesex County Assistant Prosecutor Christopher Kuberiet describes text messages sent after the attack
LISTEN TO THE AUDIO: Cash Johnson apologizes in court to the family of Sinha
He called Tinli, who was 17 at the time of the incident, “one of the prime movers and shakers,” of the attacks and told the judge it was Tinli who delivered the fatal punch to the right side of Sinha’s head.
Kuberiet said it was Conway who “pointed out” the Sinha family as the teens drove along Fela Drive, telling his friends, “hey, there’s three dudes and a (woman).”
After the teens had returned home, Conway and Daley began their text conversation, Kuberiet said.
After Daley asks if he’s “down again” for the next night, Conway, according to the Family Court transcript the prosecutor read, responds: “Yes, any N-word I see is going to get it with my left hand though cause I think I broke my knuckle on my right hand s-swollen. … I’m just saying son I can’t believe that shit was so great.”
During the September hearing, Johnson was the only one to speak on his behalf, asking Sinha’s family for forgiveness.
“I wanted to say I really apologize to the victim’s family and to the victim and I hope one day they can forgive me and see that I’m not the monster like everybody in the media says we are,” he told the family, who attended the proceedings. “And that they can find it in the bottom of their heart to forgive us.”
His attorney, William Fetky of New Brunswick, said there is no evidence Johnson took part in the attack on Sinha and that his role in the assault on Sinha’s son “is in dispute.”
“In the pecking order of these five with five being the least, Mr. Johnson was number four,” Fetky told the judge.
Mitchell Ansell, the attorney for Daley, said yesterday, “Our position is Julian Daley is not responsible for Mr. Sinha’s death,” adding he does not believe any of the text exchange between Daley and Conway implicates his client.
“Those texts cannot be viewed as any admissions by Julian Daley,” he said. “Julian Daley is not responsible for this man’s death.”
Amilcar Perez, who represents Tinli, said at the Family Court hearing that his client was a good student, a football player, a track star, and played the piano at his church.
Charles Uliano, who represents Conway, told the judge in September that Conway’s father “has coached in Old Bridge for years,” and had never been in trouble before.
Attorneys for three of the four teenagers could not be reached for comment yesterday.
The four are free on bail.
The hearing for Steven Contreras was not included in the audio recording.