New Jersey — A 19-year-old Old Bridge man accepted a plea agreement today in the beating death of a 49-year-old Indo American computer scientist in June 2010.
Steven Contreras, 19, pleaded guilty to conspiracy to commit aggravated assault during the hearing held before Superior Court Judget Bradley Ferencz. Contreras faces up to to four years in prison, Contreras’ attorney Hassen Abdellah said.
Under the terms of the agreement with Middlesex County Assistant Prosecutor Christopher Kuberiet, Contreras will have to serve 85-percent of his sentence before he is eligible for parole. He also will have to testify, if necessary, at the trial of his four co-defendants, Abdellah said.
“He’s a 19-year-old,’’ Abdellah said. “It’s better to resolve your case in a way where you can control your own destiny than put it in the hands of the others. I think that when you’re 19 years old, it’s much easier to look at the next three years of your life as opposed to the next 10 or 12.’’
The other defendants in the case are Cash Q. Johnson, 19, Christian M. Tinli, 20, Christopher Conway, 19, and Julian C. Daley.
Contreras was the driver of the vehicle used in the attack of Divyendu Sinha, who was taking a late-night stroll with his wife Alka Sinha, and sons on Fella Drive on June 25, 2010, when a group of teens students pulled up in a car and beat Sinha, and his sons. Sinha died at Robert Wood Johnson University Hospital in New Brunswick from a cerebral hemorrhage three days later.
In May, a Superior Court jury convicted Contreras of aggravated assault, conspiracy and hindering apprehension. He was acquitted of murder and aggravated manslaughter, but the jury failed to reach a decision on the reckless manslaughter charge. A plea deal, offered in June, had been rejected.
A tentative sentencing date was given as Jan. 23, but that will depend on what is going on with the other cases, Abdellah said Sinha’s wife, Alka, who was present at the hearing in Middlesex Superior Court in New Brunswick, N.J., declined to comment on the plea agreement, the newspaper said.