Jeweler’s killer gets life in prison

The Bloomfield man convicted of killing a Kearny jeweler during a robbery more than seven years ago will likely spend the rest of his life behind bars.

For the murder of 47-year-old jeweler Xavier Egoavil, John DeRosa, 58, was handed a life sentence Friday, Jan. 6, by Hudson County Superior Court Judge Patrick Arre, sitting in Jersey City.

Two other charges on which he was found guilty – felony murder and possession of a weapon for unlawful purpose – were rolled into the murder charge, explained Ray Worrall, spokesman for the Hudson County Prosecutor’s Office.

DeRosa was also given a 20-year sentence on an armed robbery charge and 10 years on a charge of unlawful possession of a weapon, Worrall said.

All three sentences are to run concurrently, he added.

On the life sentence – which the court projected at 75 years – DeRosa must serve out at least 85% of that term before he can be considered for parole, Worrall said.

That means DeRosa would have to spend the next 63.7 years in prison – or less if he gets credit for the seven years he’s been in confinement since his arrest. If he lives that long, he’d be 120.

The state asked for – and got – the maximum sentence allowable under state sentencing rules, according to Worrall.

Where DeRosa will be serving his time – and when he will begin serving – will be up to the state Department of Corrections, Worrall said. The defendant is currently being held in the Hudson County Jail.

Members of the victim’s family were present for the sentencing. Neither DeRosa nor the victim’s family members addressed the court but a statement submitted by an Egoavil family representative was submitted to the court at that time, Worrall said.

DeRosa, who was represented at trial and sentencing by Fairview attorney Scott Finckenhauer, maintained his innocence during the legal proceedings.

By law, the defendant has 45 days to appeal his sentence, Worrall said.

Meanwhile, DeRosa’s two co-defendants Elvis Feratovic, 30, and Edmir Sokoli, 29, both of Bloomfield, face sentencing by Judge Arre on armed robbery pleas Jan. 20.

A Hudson County jury found DeRosa guilty of the fatal shooting of Egoavil at his store, Rachel Jewelers, 142 Kearny Ave., after a struggle between the two, on Aug. 18, 2009. DeRosa was indicted by a grand jury for murder, felony murder, armed robbery and two weapons charges on June 29, 2010.

At his trial, co-defendants Feratovic and Sokoli helped implicate DeRosa by turning state’s evidence.

Feratovic testified that he drove Sokoli to Kearny the morning of the crime to pick up DeRosa. Then, he told the court, the trio twice circled the block where the jewelry store was located before parking.

At that point, Feratovic testified, Sokoli and DeRosa, who was armed, donned fake beards and wigs before entering the jeweler’s.

Once inside, Sokoli told the court, DeRosa announced a stick-up to the owner and his mother, who was also in the store. As he was stuffing jewelry into a trash bag, the owner became aggressive with DeRosa who shot him several times, Sokoli testified.

The holdup men then fled from the store, with Sokoli and Feratovic leaving in one car and DeRosa, who now had the stolen merchandise, departing in his vehicle, Sokoli testified.

Feratovic identified DeRosa as the instigator of the crime, testifying that it was DeRosa who planned the job and enlisted Sokoli and Feratovic to assist.

Tapes from surveillance cameras that captured movements of the bandits’ vehicles, along with a tip that Feratovic’s car was being worked on in a Passaic County autobody shop to alter its appearance, helped police break the case.

– Ron Leir

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