FREEHOLD, N.J. (TCD) -- A 28-year-old man has been sentenced to serve a maximum of 30 years in prison following a retrial for charges relating to the strangulation death of a 40-year-old woman in 2015.
The Monmouth County District Attorney’s Office said in a statement Tuesday, July 25, that Christopher Aparicio-Reyes will be required to serve at least 85% of that sentence, which equates to 25 1/2 years in prison. Aparicio-Reyes was sentenced to life in prison in 2018 following his trial for the death of Jennifer Pizzuto when a jury convicted him of first-degree murder. An appeals court, however, overturned the conviction in August 2021 and ordered another trial.
Aparicio-Reyes pleaded guilty to aggravated manslaughter in May 2023.
On Dec. 13, 2015, Long Branch Police Department officers went to a residence on the 100 block of Rockwell Avenue and found Pizzuto deceased in an upstairs bedroom with multiple injuries. Officials pronounced her dead at the scene.
According to the Monmouth County Prosecutor’s Office, Aparicio-Reyes alleged Pizzuto stole from him. He was reportedly drinking and on cocaine the night of the incident and beat Pizzuto in the face and head. She suffered lacerations on her lips and tongue, and several teeth were knocked out. He reportedly hit Pizzuto while she was standing and when she fell to the ground.
NJ.com reports Aparicio-Reyes claimed Pizzuto took cocaine and $50 from him.
The Prosecutor’s Office said Aparicio-Reyes killed Pizzuto by "squeezing her neck until she lost consciousness and eventually died with his arms still wrapped around her neck."
At his first trial, Aparicio-Reyes reportedly "conceded he killed Pizzuto, albeit not purposely," but said he did it because he thought she stole from him.
After the killing, Aparicio-Reyes attempted to hide Pizzuto’s body in another room, then left and hid at a friend’s house. He was found the next morning.