Plainsboro, NJ ‘lunch break’ killer admits to stalking, murder, cover-up plot
A man accused of murdering a co-worker in her Plainsboro home and then planning another killing from jail has admitted to those crimes, while sharing what happened in the victim's last moments and the lengths he was prepared to go to in avoiding conviction.
Kenneth Saal, 33, appeared before Middlesex County Superior Court Judge Pedro Jimenez on Wednesday and pleaded guilty to the first-degree murder of 26-year-old Carolyn Byington, as well as second-degree burglary and fourth-degree stalking.
While in court, Saal said that in April 2019 he had copied Byington's house key while she was at work and used the key to enter her apartment on multiple days in the following months.
He had also planted hidden cameras to record the victim in her home and spy on her until she unexpectedly found Saal, then-married and a new father, in her apartment on June 10, 2019.
Caught on the victim's lunch break, Saal brutally killed her and left her lifeless body for police to eventually find.
Officers did a well-being check that evening at the request of Byington's other coworkers at the Princeton firm, where Saal was an accountant.
Murder-for-hire from jail
Saal also admitted that in an effort to derail his trial ahead of a December start date, he tried to hire another inmate to carry out a "copycat murder" to make it look like Byington's true killer had not yet been caught.
He even had a "plan B" to try and avoid his trial.
Saal also confessed to alternate plans of having one of two witnesses who were going to testify killed while framing them with a fake suicide note, claiming responsibility for the murder.
Under the terms of his plea deal, Saal faces 55 years in state prison, 85% of which he must serve before being eligible for parole.
The former Lindenwold resident has been slated for sentencing on Jan. 23, 2023.
Saal had previously turned down a plea deal for 30 years in prison, before the murder-for-hire plot was discovered by prosecutors, as reported by MyCentralJersey.com
Byington's family set up a memorial fund after her death to which donations have been made to the Children’s Brain Tumor Project at Weill Cornell Medicine.