FREEHOLD – An Ocean County man admitted he conspired with two others in two separate homicides that were charged 25 years after they were committed, announced Monmouth County Prosecutor Christopher J. Gramiccioni.
Jose R. Carrero, 48, of Jackson Township, pleaded guilty two counts of second degree Conspiracy to Commit Murder, relating to the 1994 stabbing murder of Ana Mejia and the 1995 shooting murder Nicholas Connors.
In today’s plea hearing before Monmouth County Superior Court Judge Ellen Torregrossa-O’Connor, Carrero admitted he conspired with Ted Connors, 47, and Dolores Morgan, 66, to kill Mejia in retaliation for what they believed were her actions to tip off law enforcement officers about the illegal activities of her boyfriend.
On December 8, 1994, 24-year-old Ana F. Mejia was found deceased and partially clothed inside a bedroom of the Prospect Street apartment she shared with her boyfriend and two young children. Mejia was stabbed multiple times and had a white powdery substance rubbed on her face when her remains were found. Her children were found safe within the residence.
Carrero also admitted to conspiring with Ted Connors and Connors’ mother, Delores Morgan (then known as Delores Connors) to kill Nicholas Connors. Nicholas Connors was the adopted father of Ted and then-husband of Delores, who was killed in a successful effort to collect on a life insurance policy. On May 14, 1995, six months after Mejia was murdered, Long Branch police officers found Nicholas Connors deceased at his Van Dyke Place home. Connors was found on a sofa with multiple gunshot wounds to the head.
As part of his plea agreement, Carrero is required to provide truthful testimony in any potential trials for his co-defendants Ted Connors and Dolores Morgan, both of Del Ray Beach, Florida, each of whom are charged with first degree Murder for the homicides of Mejia and Nicholas Connors. The State will recommend a sentence of 5-10 years’ imprisonment for the first count, and a consecutive 5-10 years’ imprisonment for the second count, to be served in New Jersey state prison.
A murder investigation was commenced by the Monmouth County Prosecutors Office and the Long Branch Police Department shortly after these homicides occurred. Additional evidence recently uncovered by the Monmouth County Prosecutor’s Office Cold Case Unit and Long Branch Police Department resulted in charges being signed against the three defendants on January 10, 2020.
Carrero has been detained in the Monmouth County Correctional Institution (MCCI) in Freehold Township since his arrest last month. Ted Connors and Morgan are both currently being held in MCCI to await trial.
The case is assigned to Monmouth County Assistant Prosecutor Meghan Doyle, Director of the Cold Case Unit, and Assistant Prosecutor Noah Heck.
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.