Newspaper article The Record (Bergen County, NJ)

Man Said What Cop Wanted, Jury Told

Newspaper article The Record (Bergen County, NJ)

Man Said What Cop Wanted, Jury Told

Article excerpt

Just before Edwin Jimenez confessed to shooting at four men outside a Passaic bodega in 2012, he rested his head in his hands, exhaled deeply and began shaking and crying.

"It's been killing me," he told a police detective. "I did it, I did it."

It was a moment of a relief for Jimenez - a weight lifted off his shoulders hours after the grisly shooting that killed two of the men, prosecutors argued Tuesday during opening arguments at his murder trial.

But his defense attorney countered that the confession, the central piece of evidence in the case, was false, prompted by a detective whom Jimenez thought of as a father figure and at one point "threatened" him with the death penalty.

A recording of the confession will "clearly show the detective slowly but surely implanted the seeds of the tragedy that happened," attorney Jose Torres said. "Edwin, having been confronted with the gravity of the situation, gave in and told the detective what he wanted to hear."

Jimenez is accused of walking up to a group of men outside Flores Mini-Mart on President Street in February 2012 and shooting three of them point-blank. Two of the men -- Ishmael Pena, 21, and Stevenson Matos, 20, both of Passaic -- were killed. A third, Danny Velasquez, 18, also of Passaic, was shot in the face but survived.

Jimenez, who was 21 at the time, is alleged to have fired at a fourth man, Aeriel Mejia, 21, of Passaic, and missed.

Assistant Passaic County Prosecutor Jennifer Kim told the jury of a bloody, horrifying scene outside the bodega on the evening of Feb. 18, 2012.

"What do you hear?" she asked. "Screaming and crying. What do you see? Three bodies."

Jimenez walked up to the group and fired multiple shots from a Taurus .38-caliber revolver, which police recovered the next morning in an idling car driven by his brother outside a Clifton liquor store, Kim said.

Kim characterized Jimenez's confession as an opening up to Passaic police Detective Alex Flores, whom Jimenez and his father had known for about five years, ever since they moved to Passaic from the Dominican Republic. …

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