FREEHOLD – The murder case of a 36-year-old Long Branch man in 2009 has been closed thanks to the Monmouth County Prosecutor’s Cold Case investigation.
The investigation led to Christopher Willis, 31, also of Long Branch being charged in the homicide that had remained unsolved for 11 years.
Monmouth County Prosecutor Christopher J. Gramiccioni announced that Willis had been charged with one count of first-degree murder related to the death of Norberto Nieves who was shot and killed on November 29, 2009, in the vicinity of 136 7th Avenue in Long Branch.
Members of the Long Branch Police Department began an investigation at the time of Nieves’ murder, the initial investigation did not yield any arrests. Additional evidence from the original crime scene was compared to other physical and testimonial evidence recently obtained during the cold case investigation, which resulted in charges being filed against the defendant.
The United States Marshals Service NY/NJ Regional Fugitive Task Force assisted with the investigation and Willis was taken into custody and transported to the Monmouth County Correctional Institution in Freehold Township. He awaits his first appearance and detention hearing.
Members of the Monmouth County Prosecutor’s Office and the Long Branch Police Department took part in the investigation and anyone with information about this case is urged to call Monmouth County Prosecutor’s Detective Wayne Raynor at 800-533-7443 or Long Branch Police Department Detective Todd Coleman at 732-222-1000.
Those who need to remain anonymous but has information about a crime can submit a tip to Monmouth County Crime Stoppers by calling their confidential telephone tip-line at 1-800-671-4400; or by downloading and using the free P3 Tips mobile app (available for iOS and Android – p3tips.com/community/index.htm.
Should Willis be convicted of murder, he will face a minimum sentence of 30 years in a New Jersey state prison without parole and a maximum sentence of life imprisonment, subject to the provisions of the “No Early Release Act” (NERA) requiring him to serve 85 percent of the sentence imposed before becoming eligible for release on parole. He would also be under parole supervision for five years following his release from state prison.