Oct. 11, 2018
Two Men Enter Guilty Pleas in Deadly Robbery
Newark – Acting Essex County Prosecutor Theodore N. Stephens, II, announced today that Taquan Harris, 24, and Nafee Cotman, 21, pled guilty yesterday in connection with the May 2, 2016 robbery murder of Joseph Micalizzi, 23, of Freehold.
With opening arguments scheduled to begin yesterday, Harris admitted to fatally shooting Micalizzi. Cotman admitted to participating in the robbery.
Under the terms of the plea agreement, Harris of Newark is expected to be sentenced to 26 years in New Jersey State Prison. Cotman, an Irvington resident, is expected to be sentenced to 12 years in prison. In both cases, the men will have to serve 85 percent of their respective sentences before they are eligible for parole.
Sentencing is scheduled for Nov. 27 before the Honorable Ronald D. Wigler, the Presiding Criminal Division Judge, who accepted the guilty pleas.
In court yesterday, Harris and Cotman admitted entering the Tau Kappa Epsilon fraternity house on Martin Luther King Jr. Boulevard and climbing the steps to the third-floor bedroom with a plan to rob the occupants.
Harris admitted bringing a loaded revolver to the fraternity house and shooting Micalizzi three times. One of the shots was fatal.
Assistant Prosecutor Eric Plant, who is handling the case, said, “When parents send children off to college their hope is that their children will be safe while they pursue their education. That hope was shattered for the Micalizzi family on May 2, 2016. While nothing can give them back their beloved son, we believe these guilty pleas are a fair resolution of the case and hope that it brings them some sense of the justice that they were seeking.’’