Monmouth defendants risk 30 to life if convicted of Linden woman’s murder
The onetime friend of a murdered Linden woman, and a co-defendant, both from Monmouth County, are poised to stand trial for her death.
Jennifer Sweeney, 32, of Tinton Falls, and Andre Harris, 32, of Long Branch, are named in a nine-count indictment related to the killing of Tyrita Julius, 41, whose whereabouts where unknown for months until her body was discovered in the house that Harris occupied, according to the office of Monmouth Counthy Prosecutor Chris Gramiccioni.
The victim was first found, shot several times in her car, on the evening of November 24, 2015, by Linden police who responded to a report of the shooting on Middlesex Streeet. Julius's teen daughter, also in the car, was hit by gunfire as well, police said.
Amid investigations, on March 9 of this year, Tyrita's mother, Queen Julius, reported her missing to Linden police, telling investigators that she had not returned after spending time with friends in Tinton Falls on March 8.
She told police that Jennifer Sweeney brought Tyrita to the Long Branch train station at about 7 PM that evening.
A joint investigation by Monmouth and Union County detectives and police from Linden, Tinton Falls, Long Branch and New Jersey Transit, began in earnest on March 11.
Tyrita Julius's body was found in the Joline Avenue house in Long Branch on August 16.
Sweeney and Harris face one first-degree murder charge, two counts of first-degree attempted murder, one count of first-degree conspiracy to commit murder, a second-degree charge of disturbing or desecrating human remains, three weapons charges, and a fourth-degrere count of tampering with physical evidence.
Convictions for murder charge would place them at risk of 30 years to life in prison. The attempted-murder and conspiracy counts, tied to the Linden shootings, would mean a possible 20 years for each charge, with a stipulation of at least 85 percent of the sentence under New Jersey's No Early Release Act.
The remainder of the charges carry penalties ranging from 10 years down to 18 months on conviction.
Eatontown attorney Edward Bertuccio represents Sweeney. Harris is represented by attorney Jeffrey Coghlan of Freehold. The State's case is headed by Monmouth County Assistant Prosecutor Christopher J.Decker.
Charges are accusations. Defendants are presumed innocent unless, and until, found guilty in a court of law.