A Superior Court judge in Newark Wednesday sentenced an East Orange man to 20 years in prison for the 2010 beating, stabbing and robbery of a 91-year-old Essex Fells man.
Reginald Anthony, 30, was sentenced before Superior Court Judge Peter J. Vazquez for the robbery and the resulting death of Robert Nevius of Essex Fells, a decorated World War II veteran.
On Nov. 14, a jury found Anthony guilty of second-degree conspiracy to commit burglary but acquitted him on murder charges.
“There is a need to protect the public from this defendant,” said Vasquez during the sentencing.
Under the No Early Release Act, Anthony must serve 85 percent of his sentence, or a minimum of 17 years, before he is eligible for parole, said Acting Essex County Prosecutor Carolyn A. Murray.
According to the county prosecutor, Anthony was hired as a fill-in chauffeur to drive Janet Nevius, the victim’s wife, to New York City for an overnight trip on April 14, 2010.
It was only the second time Anthony had driven for the family. His aunt, the regular chauffeur, had worked for the family for two years.
Recognizing the husband was home alone, Anthony and 25-year old Shaun Woodson, also of East Orange, decided to burglarize the house.
When Nevius put up a fight, the two defendants beat, strangled and stabbed him repeatedly.
“He had been strangled with his suspenders, beaten with a blunt object, slashed and stabbed in the neck with a kitchen knife,” the county prosecutor said.
Police discovered Nevius’s body the next day when he missed an appointment. Local police officers made a welfare check on the house after a friend became concerned.
Normally, a conviction for second-degree conspiracy to commit burglary would carry a five to 10 year sentence, but Assistant Prosecutor William Neafsey successfully argued to impose the maximum sentence of 20 years based on Anthony’s lengthy criminal history, the county prosecutor said.
Prior to the 2010 incident, Anthony had been convicted of aggravated assault against a law enforcement officer, resisting arrest, eluding and receiving stolen property and attempted theft.
“The extended term was very appropriate,” said Neafsey. “This victim was a husband, father and a decorated war veteran who had a right to live and die in his own time. While the jury did not convict Anthony of murder, but for Anthony’s involvement, Mr. Nevius would still be alive today. He put in motion the events that resulted in Mr. Nevius’ death.’’
Woodson, also indicted for murder, will face a seperate jury.