Teen Facing Murder Charge As Adult

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  FREEHOLD – A Lakewood man, who was 17 when a murder took place, will be charged as an adult, police said.

  Alberto Rojas Hernandez, who is now 18, will be facing charges of first degree Conspiracy to Commit Murder, first degree Murder, third degree Possession of a Weapon for an Unlawful Purpose and fourth degree Unlawful Possession of a Weapon.

  Rojas Hernandez’s uncle, Juan Carlos Rivera Rojas (also known as Omar Rivera Rojas), 29, of Lakewood, was previously charged in the killing with first degree Murder.

  Charges are merely accusations until proven in a court of law.

  The charges are in relation to a murder in 2019 of Domingo Merino Rafael, 33, of Lakewood. He had been found dead on Hurley Pond Road in Howell in the early morning hours. Originally considered a hit-and-run, investigators determined it was murder and arrested the suspects.

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  If convicted of murder, Rojas Hernandez faces a minimum sentence of 30 years in a New Jersey state prison without parole and a maximum sentence of life imprisonment, requiring him to serve 85 percent of the sentence before being eligible for parole. He would also be on parole supervision for five years.