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South Plainfield handyman convicted of murder

  Court Watch  -   POSTED: 2007/05/07 16:03

New York - A jury in Middlesex County convicted a 45-year-old handyman this morning of strangling his girlfriend and dumping her remains in the trash in 2005. Paul Cibelli Jr. frowned and looked down at the floor as the jury of eight men and four women deliberated about three hours before finding him guilty of murdering Tania Silva, 35.

Superior Court Judge James Mulvihill immediately revoked the defendant's bail and ordered him held pending sentencing in New Brunswick on June 29.

Cibelli looked back at his father, Paul Cibelli Sr., before being led away in handcuffs.

Outside court, Silva's parents, Moises and Elvira Silva, said they were pleased with the verdict and thanked the jury, the judge and Middlesex County First Assistant Prosecutor William Lamb, who presented the case against the defendant.

At one point, the victim's mother broke into tears. ''We were sure all the time that he was the murderer,'' the victim's father said. ''In my heart, I knew this.''

During a three-week trial, Lamb said Cibelli was angry that Silva was planning to leave him and plotted her murder.

The defendant beat the woman with a roofer's staple gun and then strangled her, on a second-floor deck at the Robert Place house they shared with Cibelli's father in South Plainfield.
Cibelli subsequently wrapped the victim in trash bags and dumped her body somewhere in Pennsylvania, Lamb said.

Police began an investigation after the woman's remains were discovered at a recycling center in Philadelphia, Lamb said.

He credited Sgt. Ivan Scott of the Middlesex County Prosecutor's Office and Detective Gene Bataille and Sgt. James Foran, both South Plainfield police officers, with solving the crime.

Cibelli's attorney, Alan Zegas, said his client had no role in the slaying. Cibelli did not testify during the trial.

He faces 30 years to life in prison when he is sentenced at the Middlesex County Courthouse.


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