Newark Man Convicted of Double Murder
Jury finds him guilty on all 24 counts
Newark – Acting Essex County Prosecutor Carolyn A. Murray announced today that an Essex County jury has found James Olbert, 19, of Newark guilty on all 24 counts in connection with a murderous crime spree during which he killed two people, carjacked a woman and robbed four others at gunpoint.
Following a four-week trial before the Honorable Martin G. Cronin, Judge of the Superior Court, the jury found Olbert guilty of killing Wilfredo Campos, 36, and Miguel Torres, 37, during a crime spree, involving six incidents, which began on Dec. 15, 2011 and ended on Jan. 17, 2012.
He was also found guilty of multiple weapons offenses, two felony murders, carjacking a woman, four armed robberies and illegally using a stolen credit card to purchase $90 worth of hamburgers and French fries at McDonald’s.
Sentencing has been tentatively scheduled for June 5. He faces life in prison without possibility of parole.
Olbert gave a videotaped statement to police on Jan. 20, 2012, admitting his role in the two murders and other crimes. Olbert admitted he was sitting in the car when his accomplice, 19-year-old Azil Ellington, shot Campos on Dec. 28, 2011 during a robbery on Orange Avenue in Newark. Campos was shot in the back of head as he tried to walk away following the robbery. He died from his injuries five days later.
Also in his statement Olbert admitted he shot Torres on Jan. 17, 2012 during a robbery at Torres’ store, JNC Mini Market, in the city’s West Ward. Olbert entered the store, demanded cash. As Torres began handing over the money, Olbert grew impatient, reached though an opening in the plexi-glass shield and opened fire on Torres, shooting him in the chest four times.
At trial, Olbert took the witness stand and denied involvement in any of the crimes in spite of his prior statements and video evidence putting him at the scene of the crime.
Essex County Assistant Prosecutor Michele Miller, who tried the case along with Assistant Prosecutor Olajide Araromi, told jurors that Olbert had upended the lives of ordinary people, killing two and causing irreparable harm to many others.
Assistant Prosecutor Araromi said, “The defendant’s actions not only affected his victims, but the victims’ families and the community as a whole. When he decided to rob and steal from his victims he not only stole their material possessions, he stole the sense of security every human being is entitled to possess. When he stole the innocent lives of Wilfredo Campos and Miguel Torres, he deprived their families of future memories and life experiences. The convictions will never bring the victims back, but we hope this will be a step in their families’ healing process.’’
Assistant Prosecutor Miller added: “James Olbert took the lives of two hardworking men and victimized four others. Without provocation, he shot Mr. Campos and Mr. Torres in cold-blood for what amounted to pocket change. It is disturbing to think that a 16-year-old could be that heartless but his conduct right up until today shows he is remorseless.’’
Ellington and Isiah Adams, the codefendants, are awaiting trial. They are presumed innocent unless and until they enter a guilty plea or a jury finds them guilty beyond a reasonable doubt in a court of law.
Acting Prosecutor Murray lauded ECPO Detectives Paul Ranges and John Cosgrove and Newark Detectives Joseph Hadley, Miguel Arroyo and many others assigned to the Homicide Task Force and the Crime Scene Unit for their outstanding work in this case.