Prosecutor: Area Man Pleads Guilty to 2014 Murder of Pregnant Girlfriend

An area man pleaded guilty Friday to first-degree aggravated manslaughter in the 2014 strangulation death of his pregnant girlfriend and faces up to 28 years in prison, Monmouth County Prosecutor Christopher J. Gramiccioni announced in a released statement.

Sender Neftali Villatoro-Reyes, 27, of Freehold Borough entered his guilty plea before Monmouth County Superior Court Judge Richard W. English.

The case background … 

On Friday, May 16, 2014, at 2:15 a.m., Villatoro-Reyes called 911 and reported that he killed his 30-year-old girlfriend, Lucenay Fermin Gallegos, at their 51 Hudson Street Apt. #3 home in Freehold Borough.

Police responded to the scene where they found Fermin Gallegos dead on the couch in their apartment. She was pronounced at 3:27 a.m. by Dr. Spiegel at Newark Beth Israel Medical Center. An autopsy was conducted the same day by Middlesex County Medical Examiner Diane Karluk.

The cause of death was deemed asphyxia due to manual strangulation. The victim was approximately five months pregnant at the time of her death.

The Freehold Borough Police Department and Monmouth County Prosecutor’s Office Major Crimes Unit conducted a joint investigation.

Villatoro-Reyes was arrested and charged with murder the same day. The defendant was originally indicted by a grand jury on March 23, 2015, for one count of murder.

At his plea before Judge English, Villatoro-Reyes admitted that he during an argument with the victim, the defendant placed his hands around her throat, strangling her to death.

Pursuant to the plea agreement, the state is recommending a sentence of 28 years in a state prison. Subject to the No Early Release Act, Villatoro-Reyes must serve 85 percent of his sentence before he is eligible for parole; in addition, he will be under parole supervision for five years once released.

Villatoro-Reyes is scheduled for sentencing on April 21, 2017 before Judge English.

Villatoro-Reyes is being held in the Monmouth County Correctional Institution on $1 million bail with no 10 percent option.

Monmouth County Assistant Prosecutors Jennifer Lipp and Julia Alonso handled the case.

Villatoro-Reyes is represented by Allison Friedman, Esq., of Freehold.

— Edited press release from the Monmouth County Prosecutor’s Office

John Caroli
BCS Wealth Management