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New Jersey Woman Will Testify Against Fiancé, Family In Death Of Woman Found In Car Trunk
Joelle Martucci said in court Friday that she arrived at a home she had once shared with fiancé, Justin Fisher, on Feb. 23 and found "a lot of blood" and the body of her friend, Stephanie DeJesus.
A New Jersey woman has pleaded guilty to hindering and tampering with evidence and agreed to testify against her fiancé and his family in the death of a 38-year-old cardiovascular technician found dead last month in the trunk of a car.
Joelle Martucci entered the plea in a Passaic County courtroom Friday and provided new details about the alleged actions of her fiancé Justin Fisher and his family to dispose of the body of Stephanie DeJesus, according to NorthJersey.com.
DeJesus' “lifeless body” was found in the trunk of a car around 7:56 a.m. on Feb. 25 by Paterson Police officers, who had been called to the scene in response to a report of a suspicious vehicle, according to a statement from the Passaic County Prosecutor’s Office.
Although it was initially believed she had been shot to death, an autopsy revealed that she died from blunt force trauma.
Investigators arrested Martucci, Fisher, his brother Ali H. Fisher, 33, their father Ali Gibson, 51, and their mother Clo Fisher, 50, in connection with the death.
In court on Friday, Martucci pleaded guilty to hindering apprehension and tampering with evidence as part of a plea deal requiring her to testify against the father of her child and his family. In exchange, she is expected to receive a recommended sentence of five years of probation.
DeJesus had reportedly been a friend of Martucci’s.
During the virtual hearing, Martucci didn’t discuss who had killed DeJesus but described how the family had allegedly frantically tried to cover up the killing.
Martucci said that, when she had gotten out of work around 5:45 p.m. on Feb. 23, she received a text message from Justin allegedly telling her he had “f---ed up” and asking her not to come to their Totowa apartment on Gordon Avenue, according to the Paterson Times.
Despite the warning, Martucci drove to the apartment to find out what was going on around 7 p.m.
When she walked in, she testified that she saw “a lot of blood” and DeJesus — a cardiologist technician who was also known as “Red” — on the ground.
She said Fisher wouldn’t tell her what happened, but his brother and parents soon arrived to help clean up the grisly scene, NorthJersey.com reports.
“Everybody was just freaking out,” she said, adding that she had gotten sick in the bathroom several times as they tried to come up with a plan.
Martucci admitted in court to placing a piece of tape over the landlord’s Ring doorbell camera, allegedly at the direction of Clo Fisher as the family scrambled to try to conceal the crime.
The group decided to move DeJesus into the trunk of her sedan, using boxes Martucci had bought for an upcoming move from the property, to help conceal the body, Law & Crime reports.
According to her testimony, Gibson drove DeJesus’ car to the drop site, while Martucci followed behind the car in her own vehicle, picking Gibson up at a nearby chicken restaurant.
When Martucci was first interviewed by police she claimed there hadn’t been any blood at the home when she arrived that night, but admitted in court that she lied because she had been scared to admit what happened.
“Justin told me that if I ever wanted to see our son again, I needed to cooperate and help the family,” she said.
Fisher has been charged with murder and conspiracy to commit murder in DeJesus’ death. Gibson had also initially been charged with homicide, but in court on Friday, prosecutors downgraded the charges against him to desecration of human remains, obstruction, tampering with evidence and hindering prosecution.
Clo and Ali Fisher are also facing charges of desecration of human remains, hindering prosecution, tampering with evidence and obstruction, prosecutors said. They are expected to appear in court on Tuesday.
Martucci is expected to remain behind bars until her sentencing on May 26.