Jury Selection Begins in Hopatcong Murder Trial
Report says selection could take until Sept. 20
A week after a plea request by the defense was rejected, jury selection has begun in the trial of accused killer Giuseppe Tedesco, according to a report by the New Jersey Herald. Tedesco is charged with the March 27, 2010, death of Alyssa Ruggieri.
According to the report, 58 potential jurors were brought into Sussex County Superior Court on Wednesday to begin the process of selecting 15 sworn members. The report also said the process could take until Sept. 20, and that a motion for a venue change by Tedesco's attorney has been tabled until the 58 could be questioned.
Last Thursday during a status conference, the attorney for Tedesco, Anthony Iacullo, had his plea request of aggravated manslaughter rejected by the Sussex County Prosecutor’s Office.
During the conference before Superior Court Judge Peter Conforti, Seana Pappas, the Sussex County assistant prosecutor trying the case, said Iacullo asked in a letter if the state would consider the lesser charge.
“The only plea offer the state was willing to consider was a plea to murder that carried a sentence of 30 years in jail with no possibility of parole,” Pappas said.
Iacullo said his client already rejected that plea offer and the state “knows we won’t discuss this.”
Aggravated manslaughter carries a sentence of 10 to 20 years and the possibility of a fine up to $200,000
Tedesco is charged with murder, illegal possession of a weapon, and possession of a weapon for an unlawful purpose in Ruggieri’s 2010 death.
The allegations were placed on the record during a January pre-trial conference hearing during which Tedesco formally rejected the state’s plea offer of a 30 year prison sentence on the murder charge.