Jury to decide if Mullica woman’s shooting was accident or murder
Sergio DeRosa insists he loved his wife and it was an accident when he fatally shot her three years ago. But the state contends the Mullica Township man was blinded by jealousy and greed when he killed 57-year-old Lynn DeRosa on May 26, 2014, then staged the scene and told everyone it was an accident. A jury is now deciding which side they believe, after more than a week of testimony, which included the defendant using the shotgun to show the court what he says happened. DeRosa says he was cleaning the gun, under Lynn’s direction. He appeared to know little about it, at times looking toward a nearby sheriff’s officer seeking guidance that wouldn’t come. “Get the snap cap,” DeRosa recalled his wife telling him. She was referring to a dummy cartridge used to test firearms. It’s supposed to be harmless. But that’s not what DeRosa picked up. Instead, he says, he unknowingly put in a live round and fired. “Pah-poom!” he said he heard. “I said, ‘What the (expletive) is poom?” He said he looked over at his wife, and then ran to her. He didn’t see the bullethole, just a trickle of blood down her left cheek. DeRosa has refused a plea deal, saying he knows going to trial risks him spending the rest of his life in jail. That doesn’t matter, he said. People need to know the truth. But DeRosa’s version isn’t the truth, Chief Assistant Prosecutor Seth Levy told jurors during closing arguments Tuesday. “This is a story of murder,” Levy said. “A story of money. A story of jealousy.” A poker dealer at Borgata testified that, a month before the killing, DeRosa said that he was going to kill his wife. During the first day of testimony last week, the couple’s only child — New Jersey State Trooper Christopher DeRosa — testified against his father. Rather than talk of a loving couple who had been childhood sweethearts, he talked of a pair that bickered and a father that wasn’t trusted with money and didn’t like his wife’s friendship with a man. “That’s not my son,” DeRosa said outside the courtroom after that testimony. But on the stand Monday, the older man said only that he loves his son still. “I’ve been living for 1,400 days with this mess,” he testified of the time since his wife died. “And I’m trying to make sense of it.” DeRosa was charged with reckless manslaughter nine months after the killing. But this past September, a day after he was to go to trial, a grand jury indicted him for murder.