- Attorney General Anne Milgram and Criminal
Justice Director Deborah L. Gramiccioni announced
that two men and a woman have been indicted
on charges including attempted murder for
a March 2008 robbery and shooting in Paterson
investigated under the CeaseFire program.
trio was charged with committing a second
robbery in Paterson the same day, and one
defendant was charged in a separate indictment
with committing another robbery in Paterson
a few days earlier with two additional defendants.
The charges stem from investigations by the
Paterson CeaseFire Team, including members
of the Paterson Police Department, the Passaic
County Sheriff’s Office and the Division
of Criminal Justice Gangs & Organized
to Director Gramiccioni, the Division of Criminal
Justice obtained a state grand jury indictment
yesterday charging Christopher North, 24,
of Jersey City, Leverne McDowell, 19, of Paterson,
and McDowell’s girlfriend, Elsa Saez,
19, of Paterson, with attempted murder, a
is alleged that on the night of March 3, 2008,
North and McDowell, both wearing masks, got
out of a car driven by Saez and confronted
a man walking on East 18th Street near 4th
Avenue in Paterson. The men allegedly demanded
the victim’s wallet, and when he refused,
one of the men allegedly drew a silver .25-caliber
handgun and shot the victim in the face. The
is further alleged that on the same night,
shortly after that shooting, Saez drove North
and McDowell to the area of 5th Avenue and
East 22nd Street, where the two men, again
wearing masks, attempted to rob a second man
while armed with the silver handgun. When
the victim resisted their efforts to search
his pockets, one of the men allegedly struck
the victim with the gun, cutting his ear.
indictments are the result of intensive investigations
conducted by the Paterson CeaseFire Team,
led by detectives from the Paterson Police
Department,” said Attorney General Milgram.
“By responding to these violent incidents
with rapid and thorough investigations under
the CeaseFire program, detectives quickly
made arrests in the shooting and solved each
of the robberies.”
addition to the attempted murder charge, North,
McDowell and Saez were each charged in the
indictment with conspiracy (2nd degree) and
two counts - one for each robbery - of each
of the following offenses: robbery (1st degree),
aggravated assault (2nd degree), unlawful
possession of a weapon (2nd degree), possession
of a weapon for an unlawful purpose (2nd degree),
and endangering an injured person (3rd degree).
North was also charged with two counts of
possessing a weapon as a convicted felon (2nd
McDowell and Saez were arrested several hours
after the robberies by members of the Paterson
Police Department who stopped the car driven
by Saez. They are being held in the Passaic
County Jail: North in lieu of $500,000 bail;
McDowell in lieu of $1 million bail; and Saez
in lieu of $25,000 bail.
to Director Gramiccioni, McDowell also was
charged yesterday in a second indictment related
to another robbery that occurred on Feb. 28,
2008, in Paterson. Also charged in that indictment
are Raul Gonzalez, 40, of Paterson, and Eric
Rivera, 39, of Paterson.
is alleged that Gonzalez and McDowell robbed
a man after forcing their way into an apartment
on Paxton Street. Gonzalez allegedly pointed
a silver .25-caliber handgun at the victim
and punched him the face, while McDowell took
$40 from the victim’s wallet. It allegedly
was the same silver Raven handgun used in
the shooting on March 3. It is alleged that
the two men then ransacked the apartment and
left the scene in a car driven by Rivera.
indictment charges Gonzalez, McDowell and
Rivera with conspiracy (2nd degree), robbery
(1st degree), burglary (2nd degree), unlawful
possession of a weapon (2nd degree), and possession
of a weapon for an unlawful purpose (2nd degree).
Gonzalez is also charged with possession of
a weapon as a convicted felon (2nd degree).
Gonzalez and Rivera are also being held in
jail in lieu of bail.
Attorney General Mark Ondris presented the
case to the state grand jury for the Gangs
& Organized Crime Bureau.
General Milgram credited the investigators
for their exemplary work, including from the
Paterson Police Department, Detective Ador
Flores, who led the investigation into the
shooting; Detective Jimmy Maldonado, who led
the investigation related to the second indictment;
Detective Richard DeJesus; Detective Sgt.
Patrick Murray; Detective Sgt. Douglas Romary;
Detective Edial Lugo; and from the Passaic
County Sheriff’s Office, Cpl. Joseph
Zughbi. Attorney General Milgram also thanked
the other Paterson police officers who assisted
as members of the Paterson CeaseFire Team.
charges in the indictments are merely accusations
and the defendants are presumed innocent until
crimes carry a maximum sentence of 20 years
in state prison and a $200,000 fine, while
second-degree crimes carry a maximum sentence
of 10 years in state prison and a $150,000
fine. The attempted murder, robbery, aggravated
assault and burglary charges carry a mandatory
term of parole ineligibility equal to 85 percent
of the sentence imposed. Third-degree crimes
carry a maximum sentence of five years in
prison and a $15,000 fine.
indictments were handed up to Superior Court
Judge Maria Marinari Sypek in Mercer County,
who assigned them to Passaic County. Copies
of the indictments are linked to this release