Acting Essex County Prosecutor Carolyn A. Murray announced today that the Honorable Peter J. Vazquez, J.S.C., sentenced John Staten, 32, of Orange to 18 years in state prison for killing Arthur Downey.
In March 2010 Downey, 27, of Maplewood was killed by Staten. The two met through a telephone chat service. Downey picked up Staten and drove him to his Maplewood home. Downey’s body was discovered by his roommate the next morning. An autopsy determined Downey, a chef employed by Rutgers University, died from blunt force trauma and asphyxiation.
Staten was originally charged with murder, felony murder, burglary and weapons offense. As part of a plea agreement, on May 15, 2012 Staten entered a guilty plea to first degree aggravated manslaughter and weapons offenses.
Assistant Prosecutor Margarita Rivera, who handled the sentencing, argued for a 20-year sentence. Vazquez imposed an 18-year sentence requested by the defense lawyer. Under the No Early Release Act (NERA), Staten must serve 85 percent of his 18-year sentence before he is eligible for parole. After his release he will be on parole for five years.
“As his family so eloquently stated, Mr. Downey was a young aspiring chef who had so much to live for and his life was taken for no reason. This was a terrible tragedy,’’ said Assistant Prosecutor Rivera.
Staten has five prior convictions and 17 prior arrests. He has been incarcerated since Oct. 20, 2010 when he was arrested for killing Downey.