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Motion to Supress Granted in NJ Murder Case

New Twists in N.J. Murder Case Where a Body Was Buried in a Backyard

Excerpt from Article By Jan Hefler ( Staff Writer)

Last Halloween, the police were knocking on doors and asking if anyone had seen Justin DuBois.

A few weeks earlier, DuBois, 23, had moved in with two brothers, Bryan and Christopher Costello, and their father, who lived in a close-knit neighborhood on a cul-de-sac in Lumberton.

Law enforcement began a search after DuBois’ mother said she hadn’t heard from him for four days, and they soon discovered his body, buried in a grave in the Costellos’ small backyard. He was killed sometime between Oct. 27 and Nov. 3, according to an indictment that charged the brothers with first-degree murder and desecrating human remains.

One year later, scant information is available on what went wrong and why.

But details about what happened before and after the alleged murder on Spencer Court are coming into focus based on testimony given during an Oct. 13 pretrial hearing in Superior Court in Burlington County and interviews last week with neighbors and people involved in the case.

On Nov. 3, 2016, the Costello brothers were brought into police headquarters for questioning, before the body was found, and each gave a statement. This month, their defense lawyers successfully argued that these statements are inadmissible at trial because their clients were not read their rights. Superior Court Judge Jeanne T. Covert agreed.

The police and investigators “talked to my client an hour and a half without Mirandizing him, and then decided to Mirandize them because they said they found new evidence at the house. … They said they weren’t suspects yet, but we argued it clearly was an interrogation.”

– Moorestown Criminal Defense Attorney Tim Farrow

During the pretrial hearing to decide whether the statements to police should be suppressed, detectives testified that surveillance cameras had captured Christopher Costello purchasing a shovel at a Lowe’s home improvement store around the time of the murder. Video also showed him getting out of DuBois’ car, police said. DuBois’ car was parked in front of the Costello home when police arrived.

The cause of death is blunt force trauma, according to Joel Bewley, spokesman for the Burlington County Prosecutor’s Office.

Police discovered the body, which had been placed inside a container, beneath newly disturbed loose soil not far from the rear of the two-story house. It’s not clear what kind of container was used.

The brothers remain in the Burlington County Detention Center on $500,000 bail each, cash or bond only, which was set by a judge two months before New Jersey’s Criminal Justice Reform Act went into effect. Under the act, a person charged with murder is not entitled to bail and must be tried within six months unless there are special circumstances.

Farrow said that he expects the trial could be held early next year, if the case is not dismissed by the judge due to a lack of evidence. If convicted, the brothers could face life imprisonment.

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Tim Farrow, of Dash Farrow, LLP, is an experienced criminal defense attorney and former prosecutor who handles South Jersey criminal defense matters of any kind.

If you need experienced, focused, and responsive legal help today: Call Dash Farrow, LLP at (856) 263-3198 or Contact Us Here.

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