ONLY ON CVP: Those who thought bail reductions of more than half last week for two Dominican brothers charged in a botched overnight burglary that left a Paramus officer injured and their accomplice dead got a bigger shock today when a judge in Hackensack hacked the bail for a third man who was with them from $500,000 down to $50,000.
Like his co-defendants, 25-year-old Nico Vega of the Bronx will remain under house arrest with a monitoring bracelet if he raises bail.
Like them, he has an extensive criminal history.
His reduction, however, was much steeper than the cut from $300,000 to $200,000 that the same judge granted last week to Hector Felix, 25 and Josue Felix, 21 ( SEE: Bail reduced for Dominican brothers in botched Route 4 burglary that left one dead, Paramus officer injured ).
Presiding Superior Judge Liliana DeAvila-Silebi reached today’s decision after defense attorney Ilene McFarlane contended that the “shockingly high bail” was punishment of Vega for being an accomplice of his cousin, Miguel Reyes, the driver of the getaway car.
Two officers who responded to a 4:36 a.m. burglary alarm on Oct. 8 found the rear door of Jennifer Convertibles on Route 4 pried open, as a crew attempted to break through a wall into an adjoining vacant property on their way to a T-Mobile store, law enforcement sources told CLIFFVIEW PILOT soon after the incident.
Using the getaway car as a weapon, Reyes of Manhattan struck a Paramus officer, who landed on the hood and squeezed off some shots from his service weapon.
The 2015 Kia slammed into the median on westbound Route 4, after which police arrested Reyes, the Felix brothers and Vega.
Reyes later died at HUMC. The officer sustained “a head injury, as well as injuries to his lower extremities, contusions and bruises,” Bergen County Prosecutor John L. Molinelli said at the time.
Charges against the trio include armed burglary to the Jennifer Convertibles and vacant adjacent store; attempted armed burglary of the T-Mobile; conspiracy to commit armed burglary; and possession of weapons and burglary tools.
“Mr. Vega was a backseat passenger and had no control over the vehicle,” McFarlane told the judge today. “Certain things occurred in connection with this incident that are being used against Mr. Vega improperly.
“Bail is supposed to be set to assure a defendant appears for future court dates, no for any other issue going on, not for punishment. ”
If he raises bail, Vega will live with his mother in Andover, where she works as a nanny, McFarlane told DeAvila-Silebi.
Although the Felix brothers are natives of the Dominican Republic — which has no extradition treaty with the United States — Vega is a U.S. citizen, she noted.
Assistant Bergen County Prosecutor Danielle Grootenboer, while agreeing to no lower than $200,000 bail, said Vega has already proven himself a flight risk.
“He currently has a warrant for violation of parole,” she told the judge. “That says it all about his ability to come to court when required.
“And it’s not the first time a bench warrant had to be issued for his arrest,” she said, noting that in 2013 he had to be brought to court on a warrant.
“He has a felony conviction from New Jersey on burglary theft from last May 2014,” Grootenboer continued. “He has a conviction in New York for a misdemeanor, but that could be a felony in New Jersey.”
She also cited charges for carrying a concealed weapon from 2008, for which Vega was convicted and received three years of supervised release.
In slashing Vega’s bail, the judge ordered him to surrender his passport and to first have a bail source hearing if he comes up with the money to free himself from jail while the charges are pending, the same as the Felix brothers.
STORY/FILE PHOTOS: CLIFFVIEW PILOT Courthouse Reporter Mary K. Miraglia
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