• Lynda Cohen

Galloway man convicted of murder in killing of wife’s lover

Updated: Apr 22

Jurors acquit cousin accused of conspiracy in death of Hamilton Township man

Jurors took just a few hours to find Dennis Munoz guilty in the 2015 killing of Michael Black. But they found his cousin Edwin Velazquez not guilty of conspiracy in the case. Munoz became obsessed with Black after finding out the Hamilton Township man had an affair with his wife, the state alleged. Text messages told the tale, apparently making it easy for jurors to reach a verdict. Defense attorney Nellie Marquez indicated during her closings that it was Munoz’s wife, Courtney Sciarretto, who pitted three men against one another, with deadly results. Sciarretto was not only having an affair with Black but also with Michael Robinson, the man she now lives with. The woman — now pregnant with hers and Robinson’s second child — testified at trial. “She tortures Dennis,” Marquez said. “She treats him like trash.” Sciarretto gave her husband Black’s phone number and continued to stir things up, Marquez said. But no one else the defense might try to name drove an older model minivan with engine problems like the one heard and seen at the scene, Assistant Prosecutor Rick McKelvey said. And none was seen getting into that minivan a half-hour before the killing. And no one else “was was identified by the victim as the killer,” McKelvey said. Black was mortally wounded when he called 911 and told the operation the person who shot him was Wolf, a nickname Munoz used and which he referred to himself as in several text messages shown to jurors.

Michael Black called 911 after he was shot. “I know exactly who it is,” he says. “His name is Wolf.”

“This case is about a man who said he was going to kill somebody and then, with the help of his cousin, he killed that person,” McKelvey said. But driving his cousin around running errands does not make Velazquez an accomplice, his attorney, Meg Hoerner, told jurors. Instead, she painted a picture of a hardworking father who was out buying medicine for his sick child. “This was not a man planning a murder,” she said. The jurors apparently agreed. Velazquez was released Monday night, after more than three years in jail.

Wife of accused killer could play big role in murder trial

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