Acting Essex County Prosecutor Carolyn A. Murray announced today an indictment was returned by an Essex County Grand Jury charging defendant John Staten, 32, of Orange with the March 14, 2010 murder of Arthur S. Downey, III.
Staten and Downey, 27, met in a chat room and then arranged to meet in person. Downey was murdered by bludgeoning and asphyxiation which occurred at his home in Maplewood. He was found unresponsive in his bed.
In addition to murder, Staten was indicted on two weapons offenses arising from his unlawful use of an iron as a bludgeon. He was also indicted on theft charges for unlawfully taking Downey’s 2007 Chevrolet and stealing an X Box and other property valued at over $500.
He is scheduled to be arraigned on these charges on July 5 before the Honorable Peter J. Vazquez, Judge of the Superior Court.
If convicted of all the charges, Staten would face life in prison.
These are accusations. The defendant is presumed innocent unless or until he either pleads guilty or is found guilty in a court of law.
Anyone with information about this case is urged to call the Essex County Prosecutor’s Office tips hotline at 1-877-TIPS-7432 (1-877-847-7432).