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Copes Death Suspect Awaits Trial for Murder

The bloody stabbing death of 24-year-old Kevin Copes in Toms River last June leads to a first-degree murder indictment against a Lakewood 21-year-old who was arrested in Florida only days afterward. Four more defendants face trial for hindering the investigation.

Ocean County Justice Complex (Tom Mongelli, Townsquare Media)
Ocean County Justice Complex (Tom Mongelli, Townsquare Media)

Steven Rosado is being held in the Ocean County Jail in Toms River with bail set at $1,000,000 cash and risks life in prison if convicted at trial. He was apprehended last July 2, not long after Copes’s body was found stabbed in the parking area of the Briar Knolls apartment complex. He died hours later at Community Medical Center.

Ocean County Prosecutor Joseph Coronato’s office says that Rosado also faces third-degree weapons counts and a fourth-degree obstruction charge.

Investigators who started the probe under former Prosecutor Marlene Lynch Ford concluded that Rosado stabbed Copes during a fight.

Four others who were rounded up March 27 face trial for hindering apprehension, a second-degree crime. They are Fernando Reyes, Jonathan Rosado and Jennyfer Moncada, all 19-year-olds from Lakewood; and Zahid Evans, 24, of Toms River. Each could be sentenced to as many as 10 years in prison if convicted.

Reyes is charged with helping Steven Rosado reach Florida, and accompanying him. Jonathan Rosado and Moncada are accused of misleading investigators who were trying to find Steven Rosado. Evans is accused of misleading investigators regarding Steven Rosado’s identity after seeing the fatal fight.

Authorities say that Reyes posted bail. Jonathan Rosado, Moncada and Evans are being held on $100,000 bail apiece. According to investigators, Jonathan Rosado was also charged with possession of a controlled dangerous substance at his March arrest.

The investigation is continuing. Anyone with information that can shed more light on the case is urged to contact Detective John Carroll in the Ocean County Prosecutor’s Office, 732-929-2027, or Toms River Police Detective John Bajcic, 732-349-0150.

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