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‘Empty chair’ defendant cleared of attempted murder, convicted of aggravated assault in Hackensack laundry stabbing

Photo Credit: CLIFFVIEW PILOT Courthouse Reporter Mary K. Miraglia

YOU READ IT HERE FIRST: A fugitive from Hackensack was cleared of attempted murder charges today but convicted in asbentia of aggravated assault for stabbing his ex-girlfriend’s husband at a city laundry.

Jurors deliberated for nearly three days before reaching their mixed verdict in the “empty chair” prosecution of Carlos Victoriano, 29, who fled to his native Dominican Republic before the trial.

“I’m moved to tears. I am so thrilled for justice for [the victim],” Assistant Prosecutor Natalie Candela told CLIFFVIEW PILOT following the verdict.

“We could appreciate how thorough deliberations were,” Candela said, nothing that jurors clearly “worked very hard” to reach their decision.

Defense attorney Jacklyn Medina, in turn, said: “I felt very confident in our strong case for self-defense, but the jury has performed its function.”

Medina asked Superior Court Judge Edward A. Jerejian for time to reach out to Victoriano in the Dominican Republic and “make every effort to get him back here.”

The judge refused, revoking bail and issuing a fugitive warrant for Victoriano, who faces up to 10 years in state prison if he’s ever sentenced.

Authorities said Victoriano stabbed the victim 11 times and slashed the hand and thigh of the man’s 15-year-old son in the Bubbles Laundromat on Railroad Avenue in March 2013.

The victim testified for two full days, describing the encounter with Victoriano, whom he said he only knew was a former boyfriend of his wife of five years.

“He was saying ‘You have to give me something’ and arguing about a credit card and a coffeemaker,” the victim told CLIFFVIEW PILOT before the trial.

“I went over and asked why he was talking to my wife like that. He said ‘I’m not talking to you.’

“I said, ‘She’s my wife, and if you’re talking to her you’re talking to me,” the husband said.

Victoriano left but returned a few minutes later with the knife, stabbing him in the chest and abdomen and cutting his son, he said.

“I was in the hospital nine or 10 days,” the man told CLIFFVIEW PILOT . “He cut my son’s hand, and it still doesn’t work right.”

Victoriano, who was living in Jersey City, posted $150,000 bail and was released a day after his April 10 arrest. A judge later revoked the bail after he took off.

He, never responded to an offer made by the Bergen County Prosecutor’s Office of 15 years in prison and dismissal of four other charges in exchange for a guilty plea to attempted murder.

So the trial was held.

Along with aggravated assault, jurors today convicted Victoriano of “purposely causing bodily injury” that was not the result of a fight or scuffle the men both willingly participated in; recklessly causing bodily injury to Mendoza Santana with a deadly weapon; and possession of a knife to use unlawfully against another person.

He was acquitted of attempted murder and of purposely causing serious bodily injury to the victim with extreme indifference to human life, as well as purposeful serious bodily injury against the victim’s son.

STORY / FILE PHOTO: CLIFFVIEW PILOT Courthouse Reporter Mary K. Miraglia

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