FREEHOLD: A Monmouth County grand jury returned a 4-count indictment charging a Long Branch man for the 2013 double murder of a couple found dead inside a Sairs Avenue apartment, announced Acting Monmouth County Prosecutor Christopher J. Gramiccioni.
Carlos I. Menjivar, 23, of 45 North Fifth Ave., Long Branch, is named in the indictment charging him with two counts of first degree Murder, one count of third degree Possession of a Weapon for an Unlawful Purpose and one count of fourth degree Unlawful Possession of a Weapon. He is currently being held in the Monmouth County Correctional Institution, Freehold Township, on $2 million bail with no 10 percent option, as set by Monmouth County Superior Court Judge Francis J. Vernoia, P.J.Cr.
Menjivar was arrested following a joint investigation by this Office's Major Crimes Bureau with the Long Branch Police Department and Monmouth County Sheriff's Office. The investigation began after Maria Catejo-Munoz, 35, of Long Branch, was reported missing around noon on Sunday, March 24, prompting a search for her whereabouts. The search led Long Branch Police to the Sairs Avenue apartment of Fredis O. Ventura, 33, who was romantically involved with Catejo-Munoz, around 4 p.m. on March 25, 2013. The pair were discovered dead inside the apartment.
If convicted of Murder, Menjivar faces a maximum sentence of life imprisonment without parole in a New Jersey state prison. If convicted of Possession of Weapon for an Unlawful purpose, he faces a sentence of up to five years in state prison, and on the charge of fourth degree Unlawful Possession of a Weapon he faces up to 18 months in state prison.
Anyone with information about this case is urged to contact the Monmouth County Prosecutor's Office Major Crimes Bureau at 1-800-533-7443.
Despite these charges, every defendant is presumed innocent, unless and until found guilty beyond a reasonable doubt, following a trial at which the defendant has all of the trial rights guaranteed by the U.S. Constitution and State law.
The case is assigned to Monmouth County Assistant Prosecutors Paul Alexander and Ian D. Brater.