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Man pleads guilty to the 2007 robbery and murder of New Jersey truck driver


New Jersey authorities say that a man has pleaded guilty to charges related to the stabbing death of a truck driver nearly 15 years ago.

On Thursday, February 10, 2022, Joel Esquijarrosa, 44, of Harrison, New Jersey, pleaded guilty to a charge of Aggravated Manslaughter in connection with the August 24, 2007 murder of truck driver Rafael Angel Aguero Espinoza in Jersey City.

From the Hudson County Prosecutor’s Office:

On Friday, August 24, 2007, Rafael Angel Aguero Espinoza, 50, was found dead inside the cabin of his tractor trailer, which was parked on Senate Place and Van Winkle Avenue in Jersey City. The cause of death was later determined to be multiple stab wounds and the manner of death to be homicide. The investigation revealed the homicide was committed during the commission of a robbery.

On Monday, February 3, 2020, the Hudson County Prosecutor’s Office was contacted by the Harrison Police Department after Esquijarrosa was arrested in that jurisdiction on criminalmischief charges. Based on an investigation conducted by the Prosecutor’s Office Cold Case Unit, Esquijarrosa was charged in connection with the 2007 murder.

NJ.com reports that Espinoza’s body was found “bound hand and foot” in the cab of his truck. The outlet also said that Espinoza hauled trash for Mariel Waste Removal and was known to carry large amounts of cash.

Sentencing for Esquijarrosa is scheduled for Friday, April 8, 2022. Prosecutors are recommending an 18 year sentence.


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