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Three Arrested For Murder Of New Jersey Mother Found In Trunk Of Her Car
A woman allegedly said that her fiancé and his father were responsible for the murder of Stephanie DeJesus, who was found nearly two days after surveillance captured her last known whereabouts.
Three people have been arrested for the murder of a New Jersey mother who was found dead in the trunk of a car.
Stephanie DeJesus, 38, was found dead near the area of James Street and Ryerson Avenue in Paterson, following reports of a suspicious vehicle, according to the Passaic County Prosecutor’s Office. Officers with the Paterson Police Department were dispatched to the scene shortly before 8:00 a.m. on Feb. 25, where DeJesus died from what appeared to be “an apparent gunshot wound.” A medical examiner later determined DeJesus’s injuries were the result of blunt force trauma.
On Thursday, multiple agencies announced the arrests of Justin Fisher, 29, Ali Gibson, 51, and Joelle Martucci, 24. All three were charged with first-degree murder and conspiracy to commit first-degree murder.
Investigating agencies included the prosecutor’s office, Paterson Police, Totowa Police, the Passaic County Sheriff’s Office and the United States Secret Service.
“The subsequent investigation revealed that Fisher, Gibson, and Martucci were involved in the murder of Ms. DeJesus,” said the prosecutor’s office. “Ms. Martucci was arrested without incident at Paterson Police Headquarters on Monday, Feb. 28, 2022. Following the filing of charges against them, Mr. Fisher and Mr. Gibson surrendered without incident to the Passaic County Sheriff’s Office in Paterson on March 2, 2022.”
All three suspects were booked into the Passaic County Jail.
On Feb. 23, near 6:00 p.m., DeJesus left a Totowa pharmacy before driving to a home on Gordon Avenue, just five minutes away, according to an affidavit of probable cause obtained by NJ.com. Surveillance camera captured DeJesus entering the residence shortly before Joelle Martucci arrived in a white SUV.
Martucci later told authorities that she and her fiancé, Fisher, lived in the Gordon Avenue home with their child. Martucci denied ever seeing DeJesus but claimed “she did observe her boyfriend (Fisher) and his father, Ali Gibson, carrying a large box/bag” to DeJesus’s car.
“Martucci also indicated that when she first entered the home, she noticed the large box/bag in the living room area,” the affidavit stated. “Martucci then explained observing a portion of the floor/flooring in the living room area ripped up.”
According to local reports, the affidavit did not say who drove which car, but the surveillance camera showed DeJesus’s vehicle and Martucci’s SUV leaving the home at around 8:23 p.m.
Nearly two days later, authorities found DeJesus’s body in the trunk of the car after someone reported seeing blood dripping from the vehicle, according to Daily Voice.
Stephanie DeJesus was born and raised in Paterson and worked as a cardiovascular technician for St. Michael’s Hospital in Newark, according to her obituary. She leaves behind one son.
“Stephanie, also known as Red, which matched her fiery personality, was an amazing mother, daughter, sister, godmother, cousin, and friend,” DeJesus’s brother wrote on a GoFundMe page. “She was always the life of the party and lit up every room she walked into. She will be forever remembered, forever loved, and forever missed.”
If convicted, Martucci, Fisher, and Gibson face 40 years to life in prison. A Superior Court Judge has yet to rule on whether or not the defendants will remain detained, as per a pretrial motion filed by prosecutors.