An appeal from lawyers for convicted Morristown child murderer Porfirio Jimenez was denied by the state Appellate Division, Morris County Prosecutor Robert Bianchi announced in a release on Thursday. As a result, Jimenez will continue to serve a life sentence without the possibility of parole for the murder, attempted rape and kidnapping of 10-year-old Walter Contreras in 2001.
Among arguments by Jimenez's defense regarding seeking an appeal to the 2008 decision were that there had not been sufficient evidence from police to issue a search warrant for a swab from Jimenez to obtain DNA evidence, according to the Nov. 17 decision. Lawyers also challenged the admissibility of statements made by Jimenez on June 7, 2001, after DNA evidence had connected his DNA to the semen found in Walter Contreras' underpants when he was found dead in a wooded area along the Whippany River, about a mile from the Abbett Avenue Playground.
According to the decision, after DNA evidence had connected Jimenez to Walter Contreras, Morristown police had devised a way to get Jimenez into police headquarters, by saying they were hiring him for day labor.
According to the decision, Contreras' mother returned to her family's Abbett Avenue residence on May 20, 2001, at about 6 p.m., to find her son Walter was not at home. As time passed, she became alarmed and searched for him in locations he frequented, including the Abbett Avenue Playground, where he often went to feed the ducks, according to the decision. At about midnight, she contacted the Morristown Police Department, which began a missing persons investigation.
Walter Contreras' body was found on the morning of May 22 lying under a log in a wooded area close to the Whippany River about one mile from the playground. A search of the area revealed what was discovered to be the murder weapon, a four-pronged metal garden cultivator, according to the decision.
An investigation of the playground and surrounding areas also turned up a pair of jeans with blood on them, as well as a light-blue sweater several witnesses had said–and later confirmed through DNA tests–had been worn by Jimenez, according to the decision.
Police testimony confirmed Jimenez at the playground at about 6:15 p.m. that evening, along with several others. At about 8 p.m., Walter Contreras was
seen by a St. Virgil's Roman Catholic Church parishioner with Jimenez on the basketball court shooting hoops, according to the decision. At the time, the parishioner thought the child and Jimenez were related, according to the decision.
Also argued by defense was that the trial judge had abused his discretion in determining that a psychiatrist's comment that some experts feel their task is "to help the defendant or create a defense," was enough to warrant a mistrial.
Another psychiatrist, Arnaldo Apolito, had declared Jimenez legally insane when Jimenez had made comments to police that he said indicated Jimenez thought Contreras was the devil, including "the devil walks with people sometimes," according to the decision. Apolito said Jimenez viewed the four-pronged metal gardening tool he used as a "weapon of salvation.''
"We find none of the arguments raised by defendant to be sufficient to warrant reversal and a new trial. Consequently, we affirm defendant's convictions," the Nov. 17 decision concludes.
A PDF of the Nov. 17 decision can be found included with this story.