By Daniel Jackovino, Staff Writer
BLOOMFIELD, NJ — A Bloomfield man has been charged with the strangulation death of a Rahway woman, the Union County Prosecutor’s Office announced Wednesday, Dec. 16.
According to authorities, Roberto Grillo, 36, is alleged to have murdered Yolanda Vega, 35, in her Beacon Street home.
Rahway police responded to the scene Monday, Dec. 7 and found Vega’s body. She was pronounced dead at the scene. An autopsy was performed at the Union County Medical Examiner’s Office to determine the cause of death.
Grillo was known to Vega and her family.
Grillo was arrested on an unrelated charge shortly after Vega was murdered. The UCPO said he was arrested on Sunday evening, Dec. 6, for allegedly trespassing at the Phillip 66 Bayway refinery in Linden. The arrest was made 90 minutes after Vega’s death, the medical examiner determined. According to Michael Spivey, a Prosecutor’s Office spokesman, Grillo was in custody for trespassing when he was charged for murder, Tuesday, Dec. 8.
Bail was set at $2 million for Grillo by Superior Court Judge William Daniel. If convicted for first-degree murder, the suspect would face 30 years to life in prison. Grillo was out on bail for sexual assault of a minor at the time of the murder.
According to Essex County Correctional Facility records, Grillo was arrested in July 2007 for receiving stolen property. He was again jailed in March for the sexual assault allegation.
According to Kathy Carter, spokeswoman for the Essex County Prosecutor’s Office, the allegation against Grillo for the sexual assault is currently awaiting grand jury presentation.
“He was charged with several counts, including first-degree aggravated sexual assault, second-degree sexual assault and second degree endangering the welfare of a child,” Carter said. “His bail was reduced by the court on June 4, 2015, and he made bail on June 4, 2015.”
Grillo was released from jail on June 4, according to Essex County Correctional Facility records.
Ralph Marotti, the Bloomfield Police Department spokesman, said the investigation of the sexual assault allegation against Grillo was originated by Belleville Police Department and forwarded to the Essex County Prosecutor Office.
“Investigation by ECPO led to the discovery of incidents occurring in Bloomfield between dates of November 2010 and November 2011,” Marotti said. “He was charged by the Bloomfield Police Department with sexual assault and endangering the welfare of a child.
Marotti said Grillo was apprehended in Tampa, Fla., on March 5, and then extradited to New Jersey. He was jailed March 26.