ONLY ON CVP: A judge today refused to reduce bail for a woman accused of lying to investigators who charged her boyfriend in the cold-blooded killing of a popular Hackensack limousine driver.
Loved ones who attended today’s hearing wore memorial t-shirts in memory of Jeffrey Mansilla, who was shot on Route 80 in Saddle Brook on June 12 and died soon after at Hackensack University Medical Center.
Presiding Superior Court Judge Liliana DeAvila-Silebi agreed with defense attorney Adam Lustberg that the $250,000 bail for 28-year-old Jomaris Gonzalez needed “a second look.”
However, she said that Gonzalez is a transient, that a conviction could bring a prison sentence of up to 40 years and that her mother hasn’t returned calls to the bail unit.
“Your honor, the 500-pound elephant in the room here, her co-defendant, is being charged with murder,” Lustberg (above, left, and below) told the judge. “But my client isn’t.”
He also said that Gonzalez has three children, is a lifelong New Jersey resident, works part time as a hairdresser and is facing her first felony charge.
Assistant Bergen County Prosecutor Danielle Grootenboer countered that Gonzalez already had drug charges pending when investigators arrested her and Mujahideen Abdullah, 25, earlier this month.
“She’s not the shooter,” Grootenboer said, “but she deliberately hindered the investigation of that homicide by giving false information.”
Experience has shown that “people who hinder are less likely to follow the rules of the court and show up when required,” the prosecutor added.
Gonzalez wasn’t caring for her children when Mansilla was killed, or when she was arrested, Grootenboer said.
Both she and Abdullah “are heavily involved in the drug trade,” Grootenboer said, adding that they “immediately set up a new drug production facility” in a new apartment.
Both face several charges related to drug possession and distribution in Essex County, some of which are first-degree offenses, the prosecutor said.
Mansilla, who planned to be married next month, was chased from a club in Belleville around 2 a.m. June 12 to the spot on eastbound Route 80 where authorities said Abdullah opened fire with a semi-automatic weapon from a silver Infiniti.
Mansilla, 39, was hit in the hip with one of three shots fired through the driver’s side door of his 2013 GMC Yukon near milepost 63.
The bullet passed through him, a law enforcement source with direct knowledge of the case told CLIFFVIEW PILOT.
Mansilla steered off the highway, where a passenger took the wheel and drove him to Hackensack University Medical Center.
He was later pronounced dead at HUMC.
Investigators arrested Abdullah and Gonzalez at their apartmentafter a six-week investigation.
Gonzalez was returned after today’s hearing to the Bergen County Jail, where Abdullah remained held on $2 million bail.
Abdullah is charged with murder, possession of a weapon for an unlawful purpose, maintaining a drug production facility, possession of heroin and marijuana possession.
Gonzalez is charged with possession of large quantities of both cocaine and heroin with the intent to distribute the drugs, maintaining a drug production facility, and hindering the apprehension of another by interfering with police efforts to arrest Abdullah.
She’s also charged with heroin, cocaine and marijuana possession with the intent to sell the pot.