YOU READ IT HERE FIRST: All four defendants in the home invasion robbery of Edgewater developer Fred Daibes at his luxury high-rise apartment pleaded guilty yesterday, agreeing to prison terms ranging from 12 to 18 years.
A fifth suspect was referred to several times during the admissions of guilt by Alexander Suarez, 21, of the Bronx and Jorge Valencia, 48, Ramona Mercado-Vasquez, 27, and Adonis Sepulveda, 32, all of Edgewater, that person’s identity remained a mystery.
Superior Court Judge Frances A. McGrogan accepted all four pleas in a marathon court session that lasted nearly five hours. Sentencing was set for Nov. 13, with Daibes expected to provide powerful testimony.
Several factors make the case unique, Assistant Bergen County Prosecutor David Calviello said.
For one, the victim is a millionaire. For another, somewhere between $3-4 million in cash, gold, diamonds and guns were stolen from Daibes’s St. Moritz residence overnight Nov. 26, 2013 after he and his doorman were brutally beaten.
Valencia, the ringleader, also was a close confidante whom Daibes trusted and was in his apartment frequently.
He “was taken under Fred Daibes’ wing when he came here from Colombia with nothing, given a good job and an apartment in the St. Mortiz for himself and his family,” Calviello told the judge.
Suarez agreed to a 12-year sentence that requires him to serve 10 years and two months before he’ll be eligible for parole. He admitted serving as the lookout and helping plan the robbery and kidnapping of Daibes’s concierge — which the four decided would be necessary so they could disable the security system.
All of the stolen property was found in Mercado-Vasquez’s apartment and returned to Daibes, who is set to undergo a third surgery this week for injuries sustained when the robbers beat him.
Valencia, who initially fled to Boston, agreed to a sentence of between 14 years, minimum, and 18 years, depending on his degree of cooperation in any future investigations or trials. He must serve 85% of whatever sentence he gets.
Mercado-Vasquez will serve at least 11 years and two months before parole before being deported to her native Dominican Republic.
Mercado-Vasquez and Sepulveda are not legally married but refer to each other as spouses. He was born in the DR and is a naturalized U.S. citizen.
Suarez, Valencia and Mercado-Vasquez all agreed to cooperate in future prosecutions or trials, be it providing information or testifying.
Sepulveda, who is Suarez’s brother, is said to have recruited the mysterious fifth suspect. He agreed to 18 years in prison, of which he’ll have to serve 15 years and three months before being eligible for parole.
Valencia apologized in court.
“I ask for forgiveness of the victims,” he said. ”I am not putting myself in any defensive position or any position to be an advantage to me by doing this. My purpose is just to say the truth and what happened.”
He said there wasn’t supposed to be violence after Daibes was bound and blindfolded, but Suarez brought a gun and Sepulveda and the fifth man used it. They used another gun belonging to Daibes that they took from a closet, Valencia said.
After forcing Daibes to call the doorman, they bound and blindfolded him, as well.
Valencia said things got out of hand and the other two beat Daibes severely, pulling his arm behind his back so forcefully that his shoulder bone was broken.
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