(FREEHOLD) A Massachusetts man was sentenced Friday to 40 years in a New Jersey state prison after his December conviction for the 2009 robbery and beating of an 82-year-old Tinton Falls man, announced Acting Monmouth County Prosecutor Christopher J. Gramiccioni.
Rafael Laboy, 31, of Ludlow, Mass., was sentenced to 40 years in state prison subject to the provisions of the “No Early Release Act” (“NERA”) by Monmouth County Superior Court Judge Anthony J. Mellaci, J.S.C. “NERA” requires a defendant serve 85 percent of the sentence imposed before becoming eligible for parole. Laboy will not be eligible for parole for approximately 34 years. Judge Mellaci ordered Laboy’s 40-year sentence to run consecutive to the sentence he is currently serving in Massachusetts for unrelated charges.
Laboy was found guilty on December 11, 2012, following a two-week trial with a Monmouth County jury, on charges of first degree Robbery, second degree Burglary, third degree Aggravated Assault, and third degree Theft. The verdict and trial was presided over by Judge Mellaci sitting in Freehold.
Evidence presented during the trial revealed Laboy and his then-18-year-old cousin, Eddie Laboy, were driving south on the Garden State Parkway in Tinton Falls when their car broke down on May 21, 2009. Laboy and his cousin had stolen the car from Massachusetts earlier in the day and were on their way south to Miami Beach, Florida. Leaving their stolen car on the Exit 105 ramp in Tinton Falls, the two men headed off on foot in search of a new means of transportation wandering into the victim’s neighborhood, about one mile from their abandoned car. The two cousins approached the victim’s house telling the 82-year-old man who lived alone they wanted to use his phone to call for assistance. The victim refused their request but offered to call for help on the men’s behalf. Laboy and his cousin declined the victim’s offer and left the area.
Eight hours later, at approximately 2:00 a.m., Laboy and his cousin returned to the victim’s house and kicked in the door. As the victim awoke to see what was happening, the two men began punching him and knocked him to the ground, demanding to know the location of his car keys. While Eddie Laboy searched the house for the keys, Rafael Laboy continued to kick and stomp the victim as he lie on the floor, and he struck the victim in the head with a lamp. When Eddie Laboy found the car keys, the two men stole the victim’s car and continued south, abandoning the car upon their arrival in Miami Beach.
Officers from the Tinton Falls Police Department quickly arrived at the victim’s home, along with Tinton Falls South Emergency Medical Services and MONOC paramedics. The victim was transported to Jersey Shore University Medical Center, Neptune, where he was treated for multiple facial fractures and subsequently readmitted to the hospital four additional times over the course of the next two months, ultimately resulting in surgery to resolve a life-threatening intestinal condition.
Following an investigation, detectives from the Monmouth County Prosecutor’s Office and the Tinton Falls Police Department linked Laboy and his cousin to the robbery through the stolen car recovered on the Exit 105 ramp as well as the victim’s stolen car recovered in Miami Beach. The two men were arrested in Belmont, Massachusetts on June 13, 2009.
After Laboy’s arrest on these charges, he remained incarcerated in Massachusetts due to a parole violation on unrelated charges. In May 2012, Laboy was returned to New Jersey and lodged at the Monmouth County Correctional Institution pending trial in lieu of $500,000 bail with no 10 percent option.
Laboy’s prior criminal convictions rendered him subject to sentencing as a Persistent Offender. At a hearing held just prior to Laboy’s sentencing, Judge Mellaci granted the State’s request to have the defendant sentenced to an extended term as a Persistent Offender and for the use of a stolen car while committing the robbery. In addition, the nature of the crimes for which Laboy was sentenced subjected him to the provisions of NERA.
Laboy’s cousin, Eddie Laboy, waived extradition to New Jersey, and was returned to New Jersey in June 2009. Eddie Laboy pled guilty to first degree Robbery on December 21, 2009, pursuant to a plea agreement where he agreed to cooperate in the prosecution of Laboy. On April 9, 2010, Judge Mellaci sentenced Eddie Laboy to 10 years imprisonment with an 85 percent period of parole ineligibility in accordance with the plea agreement.