NJ man killed stepdad in bed with ax, then went to Wawa
MONROE — A 27-year-old man faces 30 years in prison after admitting he chopped his stepfather to death in their home last year and then took the victim's wallet for a Wawa run.
The body of Christopher Ernst Sr., 46, was found in his garage Jan. 4, 2017, after he failed to show up for work.
His stepson, Joao Torres, was arrested after being found hiding in the back of a truck in a wooded area several miles from the Garvey Drive home, the Middlesex County Prosecutor's Office said.
Torres this week pleaded guilty, admitting that he hacked his stepfather's head three times after Ernst had gone to bed.
Torres then wrapped Ernst in a blanket, a garbage bag and duct tape and moved the body into the garage.
After the slaying, Torres took his dead stepfather's wallet and used his credit cards at Wawa locations in Old Bridge and Sayreville.
Authorities did not say what motivated Torres to commit the murder.
Ernst, a resident of Monroe for most of his life, was engaged to be married again after his wife died several years earlier. He had worked as a land surveyor for Thomas M. Ernst & Associates for many years and was published in American Surveyor Magazine.
Torres is scheduled to be sentenced July 6 before Superior Court Judge Pedro J. Jimenez in New Brunswick.
He is expected to get 30 years in prison with no possibility for parole. He also faces concurrent sentences of five and 10 years for charges of credit card fraud and disturbing human remains.