UPDATED: Authorities: Harrison man charged with 2007 robbery, murder of Jersey City truck driver


A Harrison man has been charged with the 2007 robbery and murder of a Jersey City truck driver, the Hudson County Prosecutor’s Office said this morning.

By John Heinis/Hudson County View

“The Hudson County Prosecutor’s Office has charged a Harrison man with felony murder in the 2007 robbery and murder of a Jersey City truck driver. More info to follow,” the HCPO tweeted around 7:46 a.m.

This afternoon, Hudson County Prosecutor Esther Suarez released more information related to the arrest.

Yesterday, during the evening hours, members of the Hudson County Prosecutor’s Office Cold Case Unit arrested and charged Joel Esquijarrosa, 42, of Harrison, in connection with the August 24, 2007 murder of Rafael Angel Aguero Espinoza in Jersey City.

He was arrested without incident at the Hudson County Prosecutor’s Office, officials said.

Esquijarrosa has been charged with murder, felony murder, robbery, possession of a weapon for an unlawful purpose, and unlawful possession of a weapon, authorities said.

The victim, Rafael Espinoza, was found dead on Friday, August 24th, 2007 inside the cabin of his tractor trailer, which was parked on Senate Place and Van Winkle Avenue in Jersey City, police said.

The cause of death was later determined to be multiple stab wounds and the manner of death to be homicide. The investigation revealed the homicide was committed during the commission of a robbery of the victim.  No arrests were made at the time.

On Monday, February 3, 2020, the Hudson County Prosecutor’s Office was contacted by the Harrison Police Department after Esquijarrosa was arrested in that jurisdiction on criminal mischief charges.

Based on an investigation conducted by the Prosecutor’s Office Cold Case Unit, Esquijarrosa was charged in the 2007 murder.

Following his arrest, Esquijarrosa was transported to the Hudson County Correctional Facility in Kearny pending his first appearance. The Prosecutor’s Office has filed a motion for pretrial detention of the defendant.

Suarez credited the Hudson County Prosecutor’s Office Cold Case Unit and the Harrison Police Department for the investigation and arrest.


Editor’s note: This story had been updated with new information.

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