Grand jury decision clears the way for death penalty in Sparta case

| 28 Sep 2011 | 02:12

    SPARTA - A Sussex County Grand Jury handed up to the Superior Court in Newton today, a two count Supplemental Indictment against Irvin Morales, formerly of Brooklyn, N.Y. Morales was previously indicted in August of 2001 by a Sussex County Grand Jury on charges of murder, kidnapping and possession of a firearm with purpose to use it unlawfully against the person of another, in connection with the death of Linda Marie Wilson, then 18 years of age, whose body was discovered on Sept. 13, 2000 in Sparta Township. The Supplemental Indictment charges two aggravating factors that could support a sentence of death should Morales be convicted of the murder of Linda Wilson. Count One of the Supplemental Indictment alleges that Morales committed the murder of Linda Wilson for the purpose of escaping his own detection, apprehension, trial, punishment or confinement for another offense. Count Two of the Supplemental Indictment charges that Linda Wilson's murder was committed while Morales was engaged in the commission of, or an attempt to commit, or flight after committing or attempting to commit the kidnapping of Linda Wilson. The Sussex County Prosecutor had previously filed a notice, specifying identical aggravating factors. However, on Feb. 3, the New Jersey Supreme Court decided in State v Fortin, that in New Jersey, a Grand Jury must make the determination as to whether or not to charge aggravating factors, thereby exposing a defendant charged with murder to a possible sentence of death. This matter was therefore presented to a Sussex County Grand Jury for its determination in accordance with the Fortin decision. Irvin Morales remains incarcerated in the Keogh-Dwyer Correctional Facility in lieu of $2 million dollars, no ten percent, cash only bail. Morales was extradited to Sussex County from Brooklyn, New York in Jan. of 2001, following his arrest in Brooklyn on Sept. 28, 2000 on the New Jersey charges alleging that he murdered Linda Wilson. Assistant Sussex County Prosecutor Michael Briegel presented the State's case to the Grand Jury. As with all defendants, Morales is presumed innocent until such time as his guilt may be proven in a court of law.