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Hunterdon County Prosecutor Anthony P. Kearns III, announced the guilty verdict of Gary Passarelli, age 42, of North Plainfield, NJ. Mr. Passarelli was found guilty by a Hunterdon County Jury on charges stemming from the murder of John H. Niko on May 31, 2013.


Raritan Township Patrol Officers found the body of Mr. Niko while conducting a welfare check at his residence after he failed to show up for work. The Hunterdon County Medical Examiner determined the cause of death as blunt force trauma to the head and chest and multiple sharp force injuries.


The Hunterdon County Jury found Mr. Passarelli guilty of first degree murder, second degree possession of a weapon for unlawful purpose, and third degree possession of a controlled dangerous substance.


The jury trial was presided over by the Honorable Angela Borkowski, J.S.C. Mr. Passarelli remains on one million dollar bail and is currently in the Mercer County Jail pending sentencing on February 18, 2016. At sentencing, the first degree murder charge carries a minimum of 30 years in prison and a maximum sentence of 30 years to life. The State was represented by Executive Assistant Prosecutor Deborah Factor and Assistant Prosecutor David Culley. The defendant was represented by Edward Hesketh, Esq.


According to Prosecutor Kearns, “I would like to commend the law enforcement officers and detectives from the Flemington Borough Police Department, Raritan Township Police Department and the Hunterdon County Prosecutor’s Office for their dedication and hard work in this case. I would also like to thank Executive Assistant Deborah Factor and Assistant Prosecutor David Culley for their outstanding efforts. While we are pleased with the jury’s guilty verdict on all counts, we realize that it does not take away the heartache and grief of the family and friends of John Niko. We continue to extend our deepest condolences.”


Anonymous tips can be submitted by calling Crime Stoppers at 1-800-321-0010 or by going to, or text messaging “HCTIPS” plus your tip message to 274637 (CRIMES). Tipsters can also download the free mobile app “Tipsubmit” and select Hunterdon County to submit anonymous tips via text messaging. All tips are anonymous and kept confidential





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