An undocumented day-laborer from Hondorus serving a life sentence for killing, raping and kidnapping a 10-year-old Morristown boy more than a decade ago was denied this week a hearing in front of the State Supreme Court to appeal his 2008 conviction.
Porfirio Jimenez was sentenced in 2009 to a life sentence without parole for kidnapping, sexually assaulting and killing Walter Contreras with a garden tool near the Whippany River in May 2001.
The State Appellate Division denied last November a Jimenez appeal of the conviction.
The State Supreme Court on Tuesday denied Jimenez's latest request, a petition for certification, the Morris County Prosecutor's Office announced Saturday.
"We are elated by this ruling," Morris County Prosecutor Robert A. Bianchi said. "I applaud our legal team, led by Senior Trial Counsel John McNamara who successfully tried this case, for their continued vigilance in bringing justice to the victim and his family for this horrible and senseless crime."
According to court documents, Contreras' mother reported her son missing after arriving home to not find him at the family's Abbett Avenue residence on May 20, 2001.
She searched places her son frequented, including the Abbett Avenue Playground, where he often fed the ducks, according to court documents.
Two days after going missing, Walter Contreras' body was found on May 22, 2001 under a log in a wooded area close to the Whippany River about a mile from the playground, according to court documents.
The murder weapon, a four-pronged metal garden cultivator, was found in the area, according to court documents. A pair of blood-stained jeans and a light-blue sweater several witnesses had said—and later confirmed through DNA tests—had been worn by Jimenez were also found in the area, according to court documents.
Lawyers for Jimenez argued in last year's appeal of the conviction police did not have sufficient evidence for a search warrant for a swab from Jimenez to obtain DNA evidence, according to court documents.
Lawyers also challenged the admissibility of statements made by Jimenez after his DNA was linked to a sample found on the boy's clothing, according to court documents.
The appeal, however, was denied and Supreme Court Chief Justice Stuart Rabner rejected this week Jimenez's petition for certification.
"We continue to take all steps necessary in this county to ensure that those who commit violent acts are punished to the full extent of the law, despite the extraordinary efforts needed to pursue such cases so aggressively," Bianchi said in Saturday's statement. "My continued prayers are extended to the victim and family who have endured such a terrible and tragic loss."