One of the suspects in a bizarre kidnapping case out of Newton NJ recently turned down a plea offer from prosecutors.
The defendant, who is from Missouri, was one of five individuals arrested and charged in connection with the alleged abduction.
According to authorities, the incident involved a case of mistaken identity. Prosecutors said that the defendant and his co-conspirators were under the mistaken belief that the victim, a Newton NJ pet store owner, was actually a Mahwah NJ man. Apparently, the two men share the same name: Jeffrey Muller.
Prosecutors believe that the defendant and two other individuals walked up to the victim as he was exiting his pet store and zapped him with a stun gun. The suspects allegedly placed the victim in the trunk of a car and drove him 1,200 miles to Lake Ozark, MO.
The victim was eventually able to free himself and run for help. When a witness saw the man running, he alerted local police.
Prosecutors in the case believe that the defendant was hired by a 56-year-old entrepreneur who was angry with the intended target over a business deal gone wrong.
The other defendants in the case accepted plea deals and pleaded guilty to criminal charges stemming from the kidnapping. However, the defendant rejected the prosecution’s plea offer of 20 years in New Jersey State Prison. Instead, he will go to trial. If a jury ultimately convicts him on the kidnapping charge, he could receive a life sentence. Moreover, he would be required to serve at least 30 years before becoming eligible for parole.
The defendant is supposed to return to Sussex County Superior Court in Newton NJ on December 22. At that time, a trial date will be scheduled.
To learn more about this case, read the NJ.com article entitled “Man Accused of Bizarre Mistaken-Identity Kidnapping Rejects Plea Deal with 20-Year Sentence.”
If you are facing kidnapping or criminal restraint charges in New Jersey, contact Morristown NJ criminal defense attorney Travis J. Tormey for a free consultation about your case.