Convicted Manchester murderer found guilty of Long Branch killing
The Toms River man was found guilty of a murder in Manchester in May 2013, is convicted of murdering another victim in Long Branch within the same month, and now faces the prospect of life in prison without parole.
Alan Bienkowski, 57, was convicted on all counts in the death of Michael Wells, 56, of Point Pleasant, by a jury in Monmouth County, according to the office of County Prosecutor Chris Gramiccioni.
After a six-week trial, the all-female panel returned guilty verdicts for first-degree counts of murder, felony murder and armed robbery, three second-degree weapons charges, and a third-degree charge of receiving stolen property.
According to authorities, jurors listed several aggravating factors in recommending no parole, highlighted by Bienkowski's conviction for the May 2013 murder of Anthony Verdicchio in the Pine Acres Manor Mobile Park.
Bienkowski is scheduled for sentencing in the Wells case on December 15. He was charged May 16, 2013, several days after his arrest in Ocean County for killing Verdicchio.
Investigators said that Wells arrived for work, at Dutch Prime Foods on West Avenue in Long Branch, at about 4 AM on April 10, 2013. Bienkowski hit Wells in the head from behind as Wells prepared to open the front door, robbed him, and ran, authorities said.
A chase ensued into the yard of a Cleveland Avenue house, where investigators said that Bienkowski shot Wells with a stolen gun. A resident found Wells's body at about 7:50 AM.
A year after the shooting, the gun was found buried behind Bienkowski's former dwelling in Manchester by the individual who moved into the home, prosecutors said. Detectives linked it to the Wells murder and discovered that it was stolen in 2010.
Assistant Monmouth County Prosecutors Jennifer Lipp and Matthew Bogner led the government's case. Bienkowski is represented by Howell attorney Robert Konzelmann. It is not yet known whether Konzelmann will appeal the verdict.