🔴 2 relatives are sentenced to prison after pleading guilty

🔴 The case involves a brutal killing in Monmouth County in 2019

🔴 The victim was found on a road

An uncle and nephew each get two decades in prison for killing a man with a machete in Howell over three years ago.

In September, 33-year-old Omar Rivera-Rojas and 21-year-old Alberto Rojas-Hernandez, both of Lakewood, pleaded guilty to aggravated manslaughter in the brutal death of a third Lakewood man.

They admitted taking turns striking 33-year-old Domingo Merino-Rafael with the weapon in the back of the head, after an argument with the victim in October 2019.

Merino-Rafael’s body was found on Hurley Pond Road by Howell Police early the next morning, east of Lakewood-Farmingdale Road (County Route 547).

RENDERING: Howell machete killers sentenced (Google Maps, Canva)
RENDERING: Howell machete killers sentenced (Google Maps, Canva)

After initially suspecting a hit and run, due to where he was found, police quickly realized it was a homicide due to the “chop wounds” the man had suffered.

Rivera-Rojas and Rojas-Hernandez were sentenced to 22 and 20 years, respectively.

Rojas-Hernandez was 17 at the time of the killing, but was waived to adult court to face prosecution alongside his uncle.

Both men must serve at least 85% of their terms before the possibility of parole.

Erin Vogt is a reporter and anchor for New Jersey 101.5. You can reach her at erin.vogt@townsquaremedia.com

Click here to contact an editor about feedback or a correction for this story.

LOOK: Most dangerous states to drive in

Stacker used the Federal Highway Administration's 2020 Highway Statistics report to rank states by the fatalities per billion miles traveled. 

Up or down? Average property tax changes in NJ in 2022

Below are the average property tax bills for every municipality in New Jersey last year.

The towns are listed from the biggest cut in the average bill to the highest increase. On the county maps, the deeper red color means a higher increase above 2% whereas the darker green signifies a smaller increase or a reduction.

Each listing also shows how the average tax bill is split among the county, school and municipal governments.

The 30 worst rated schools in New Jersey

Here are the 30 lowest-rated schools statewide, based on their 2021-2022 New Jersey School Performance Reports — involving scores for language arts, math and attendance. (For an explanation of how the state calculates the "accountability indicator scores" and overall rating for each school, see page 90 of this reference guide.)

LOOK: 20 American foods that raise eyebrows outside of the US

Stacker compiled a list of 20 unusual and uniquely American foods that might raise eyebrows outside the U.S.

Play ball NJ: These MLB pros are from New Jersey

A fair amount of New Jersey born baseball players have made it to the majors. These pros, active to start the 2023 season, all have NJ roots.

More From New Jersey 101.5 FM