Acting Essex County Prosecutor Carolyn A. Murray announced today that John Staten, 32, of Orange plead guilty yesterday to aggravated manslaughter and weapons offenses for killing 27-year-old Arthur Downey, III, at his Maplewood home.
Under the terms of the plea agreement, Staten will be sentenced to 18 years. He is scheduled to be sentenced on June 19, 2012 by the Honorable Peter J. Vazquez, J.S.C. Staten will be sentenced under the No Early Release Act, which requires him to serve 85 percent of his sentence before he is eligible for parole.
On March 14, 2010, the two men met through a telephonic chat service. Yesterday, Staten, admitted he beat Downey with an iron just hours after they met then covered Downey’s head with a plastic bag. The cause of death was bludgeoning and asphyxiation. A roommate discovered Downey’s body the next morning.
Assistant Prosecutor Margarita R. Rivera, who handled the guilty plea, said, “It is our hope that the 18-year sentence will bring some solace to Mr. Downey’s family.’’