Crime Scene Tape

Nearly fifteen years after the crime, a Harrison man has pleaded guilty to the 2007 murder of a Jersey City trucker.

On August 24, 2007, Rafael Angel Aguero Espinoza, 50, was found dead inside the cabin of his tractor trailer which was parked on Senate Place and Van Winkle Avenue in Jersey City.

The police, apparently, had few leads. They knew that Espinoza had died from multiple stab wounds and that the killing had occurred during the commission of a robbery. They knew it was a homicide.

Thirteen years later, the Harrison Police Department arrested Joel Esquijarrosa, 44, of Harrison on criminal mischief charges. That arrest and a subsequent investigation conducted by the Prosecutor’s Office Cold Case Unit, resulted in Esquijarrosa being charged in Espinoza’s death.

Yesterday, Esquijarrosa pleaded guilty to Aggravated Manslaughter.

The State will be recommending a sentence of 18 years in New Jersey State Prison subject to the No Early Release Act, which requires that offenders charged and convicted of violent crimes serve a minimum of 85% of their sentences before becoming eligible for parole.

Sentencing is scheduled before the Honorable Vincent J. Militello, J.S.C. on Friday, April 8, 2022. 

Aaron is a writer, musician and lawyer. Aaron attended Berklee College of Music and the State University of New York at Purchase. Aaron served as a Peace Corps volunteer in Ecuador. He received a J.D....