Acting Essex County Prosecutor Carolyn A. Murray announced today that Joseph Melillo, 45, who was homeless but has resided in Newark, was indicted for the November 2012 murder of Therese Diggins, 58, also of Newark.
The body of Diggins was pulled from the Passaic River the day after Thanksgiving in 2012. She died from strangulation, She also sustained stab or puncture wounds and blunt force trauma.
In addition to being indicted for Diggins’ murder, Melillo was also indicted for allegedly making sexual contact with the victim’s remains. Diggins and Melillo knew each other.
Melillo was arrested on Nov. 26, 2012. Bail was set at $1 million. He is currently being held at the Essex County Correctional Facility in Newark.
These are accusations. All defendants are presumed to be innocent unless and until they plead guilty or are found guilty in a court of law.