A Nutley New Jersey man has been sentenced to 16 years in NJ State Prison after pleading guilty to aggravated manslaughter. The suspect killed the elderly victim during a robbery attempt at a Belleville NJ residence.
In May 2015, Ray Cooley, a 27-year-old man from Nutley, beat 86-year-old William Fitzsimmons to death at the victim’s home on Cedar Hill Avenue in Belleville, New Jersey. Prosecutors said that Cooley preyed on the victim, a retired captain with the National Guard, because he was elderly.
When a couple of people noticed Fitzsimmons lying on the ground outside his home on May 17, 2015, they called for an ambulance. The victim was transported to University Hospital in Newark, where doctors treated him for severe injuries to his head and face. Tragically, doctors could not save Fitzsimmons; he was pronounced dead two weeks later.
Police eventually identified and captured Cooley in connection with the homicide. Cooley was initially charged with first degree murder, but he reached a plea deal with Essex County NJ prosecutors and avoided trial in Essex County Superior Court.
Now the suspect has been sentenced to 16 years in New Jersey State Prison. If Cooley had gone to trial and been convicted by a jury, he would have been subject to a punishment of life imprisonment.
For further information about this case, read the NorthJersey.com article, “Nutley Man Sentenced for Belleville Manslaughter.”