NEWARK — A Bronx man was sentenced Friday to 50 years in prison for a murder that a Superior Court judge called "overkill."

Nestor Francisco Canela Lopez, 40, was convicted in January of murder, multiple weapons offenses and destruction of evidence.

Prosecutors say Lopez used a hammer, screwdriver and wrench to kill 64-year-old Ironbound resident Charles Jeffrey in his home on Nov. 19, 2015.

Authorities said Jeffrey suffered dozens of stabs and blows. His life was ended by a hammer that cracked his head, an autopsy revealed. His neighbor later discovered Charles's body with the ball end of the hammer embedded in his head.

Prosecutors said Jeffrey had fired Lopez from doing work at his home because jewelry had gone missing. Officials said Lopez was "under severe financial pressure" and confronted his former employer, violently attacking him without provocation.

Prosecutors said Lopez tried to cover his tracks by cleaning the home with ammonia and throwing out clothes and evidence. They said Lopez showered in his victim's home and changed into clothes belonging to the victim before he went back to the Bronx.

“This was as heinous, cruel and depraved as a murder can get," Assistant Prosecutor Alex Albu said in a statement after the sentence was handed down. "Without provocation, the victim was bludgeoned to death in his home, suffering dozens of stab wounds and other injuries all over his body. With the 50-year sentence, which essentially amounts to life in prison given the defendant’s age, justice was served today.”

Lopez must serve more than 42 years before he is eligible for parole.

Sergio Bichao is deputy digital editor at New Jersey 101.5. Send him news tips: Call 609-359-5348 or email

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