James Zarate goes to adult jail

Teen charged in Randolph murder moved to adult jail:

The 15-year-old charged with helping his brother murder and sever the legs of 16-year-old neighbor Jennifer Parks in Randolph last year was ordered held in the Morris County jail this morning on $1 million bail.

Superior Court Judge Salem Vincent Ahto approved the transfer of James Zarate from the county Juvenile Detention Center to the county jail since the youth on June 7 was “waived up” from juvenile status to be tried as an adult.

Defense lawyer Joseph Ferrante said it would “be a tragedy” if the teen — who was 14 when he allegedly helped his then-18-year-old brother kill Parks on July 30 — was moved to the adult facility. Ferrante characterized the state’s evidence against James Zarate as weak and based upon the statements of a co-defendant and DNA from a piece of chewing gum found in a bag containing supplies used to clean up after the murder.

“My view is it would not be appropriate for him to be amongst other juveniles,” Ahto said, saying he believes it is in the public’s interest to hold the teen in an adult facility.

One of the mantras here says if you commit an adult crime you deserve adult time. Have fun in Morris County Lockup.

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