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Freehold Woman Found Strangled to Death; Boyfriend Charged With Murder

The alleged murder on Hudson Street occurred as their 3-year old child slept in a nearby bedroom.

An announcement from the Monmouth County Prosecutor's Office

A Freehold Borough man was arrested and charged for the early morning murder of his live-in girlfriend, announced Acting Monmouth County Prosecutor Christopher J. Gramiccioni.

Sender Neftali Villatoro Reyes, 24, of Hudson Street in the borough, is charged with first degree murder, in connection with the death of his 31-year-old live-in girlfriend Lucenay Fermin Gallegos. He is being held in the Monmouth County Correctional Institution, Freehold Township, on $1 million bail with no option to post 10 percent, as set by Monmouth County Superior Court Judge Honora O’Brien Kilgallen, J.S.C.

Freehold Borough police responded to a 911 call around 2:15 a.m., Friday, to 51 Hudson Street, where Fermin Gallegos was found unresponsive in the third-floor apartment. The couple are the parents of a 3-year-old child who was sleeping in an adjacent bedroom at the time of the incident.

Villatoro Reyes was taken into custody and a joint investigation by the Monmouth County Prosecutor’s Office Major Crimes Bureau and Freehold Borough Police Department led to the charges filed against him.

An autopsy performed Friday by Middlesex County Assistant Medical Examiner Diane Karluk determined Fermin Gallegos’ death was caused by asphyxia due to manual strangulation. Her death has been ruled a homicide.

If convicted of Murder, Villatoro Reyes faces 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.

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 Prosecutor Jennifer Lipp, of the Office’s Major Crimes Bureau.

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