A man whose 2010 Jersey City murder conviction was overturned two years ago pleaded guilty to aggravated manslaughter last week, officials said.
On Thursday, April 22nd, Zia Berisha, 46, of Linden, pleaded guilty to one count of first-degree aggravated manslaughter in relation to the fatal shooting of Michael Marro, Jr., of Jersey City, that occurred on November 6, 2007, Hudson County Prosecutor Esther Suarez said in a statement.
Hudson County Superior Court Judge Patrick Arre presided over the plea hearing.
The state is recommending a sentence of 20 years in New Jersey state prison subject to the No Early Release Act for the aggravated manslaughter which would run consecutive to a 15-year federal sentence against Berisha related to a 2009 plea for a charge of conspiracy to distribute ecstasy.
Berisha had previously been convicted of the murder of Michael Marro, Jr. by a Hudson
County jury and sentenced to a 30-year term in state prison in 2010. In 2019, that conviction was overturned by a state appellate court and was remanded for a new trial.
On November 6, 2007, the Jersey City Police Department responded to Marro’s residence on Warren Street. They found Marro, 39, had been fatally shot and beaten.
Sentencing in this case has been scheduled for July 16th before Arre. The state is represented in this case by Assistant Prosecutor Christina Krauthamer of the Hudson
County Prosecutor’s Office.
Berisha received a 30-year prison sentence for his 2010 murder conviction and has already served 13 years since being arrested in 2008.
However, a state appellate court ruled in 2019 that he didn’t receive a fair trial since the jury had not been advised to consider that Marro had been killed in an act of self-defense.
“In sum, the evidence fairly suggested the applicability of self-defense … and counsel’s failure to request a jury instruction on this defense prejudiced defendant’s right to a fair trial,” the court ruled at the time.
“The order denying post-conviction relief is reversed and the matter remanded for a new trial.”