A grand jury will be utilized to determine if there is enough evidence to formally charge a teen accused of stabbing a Keansburg, New Jersey, girl to death.
Andreas Erazo, 18, is facing murder and weapons charges for the stabbing death of Abbiegail “Abbie” Smith, 11. Though a brief court hearing occurred Monday, the Asbury Park Press noted that a New Jersey grand jury must return with a “true bill” of indictment, which indicates there is enough evidence to continue with formal charges against a defendant.
As CrimeOnline previously reported, Smith’s body was found hours after her disappearance on July 13.
“We, unfortunately, uncovered her remains at about 10:45 a.m. this morning right in the backyard of the apartment complex where she lived,” Monmouth County Prosecutor Christopher J. Gramiccioni told the Middletown Patch shortly after the grisly discovery was made. “Unfortunately, when they [rescue team] started to dig and canvas this area, they found her remains.”
Authorities announced Erazo’s arrest two days after recovering Smith’s body. Prosecutors claim the suspect, who lived near Smith, later admitted to stabbing the 11-year-old before wrapping her remains in blankets and discarding her body on the roof of her apartment building.
At one point, defense attorney Courtney Schneider argued that her client wasn’t acclimated with the interrogation process, according to NJ.com.
“At no point during this interrogation did Mr. Erazo admit the knowing and purposeful murder, which are the necessary elements of this offense the State must prove beyond a reasonable doubt,” Schneider commented.
No new details about Smith’s murder were disclosed at Monday’s hearing. Erazo is being held without bail until the trial.
[Feature Image: Keansburg Police Department]