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Illegal Immigrant Must Choose Deal Or Trial In Englewood Housemate Stabbing

Jose Hernandez-Cerrito
Jose Hernandez-Cerrito Photo Credit: Mary K. Miraglia

ENGLEWOOD, N.J. -- An illegal Salvadoran immigrant who police said stabbed his roommate in the heart has until Monday to accept a new plea deal or go to trial.

Instead of an original nine-year offer, Jose Hernandez-Cerrito can receive six years in state prison under the new deal from Assistant Bergen County Prosecutor Danielle Grootenboer.

Grootenboer told Superior Court Judge Margaret M. Foti that she reconsidered after “extensive negotiations” with defense attorney John Carbone, a meeting with the judge and a discussion with the 28-year-old victim.

If convicted at a trial of attempted murder, she said, Hernandez-Cerrito could get 10 to 20 years.

Carbone said Hernandez-Cerrito, 24, wanted some time to discuss the offer with his family, so the judge gave him until Monday.

Englewood police arrested Hernandez-Cerrito at a bus stop in August 2014 after they called him on his cellphone. They'd found his roommate stabbed and bleeding profusely a short time earlier.

Police officers and EMTs were credited with saving the man’s life by slowing the bleeding enough to get him to the Hackensack University Medical Center trauma unit in time.

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