July 21, 2019 | 92° F

Man involved in death of Rutgers student pleads guilty

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An investigation led by the Linden Police Deparmtent determined that Mujahid Henry was struck by Eduardo Perez, who was driving while intoxicated on the wrong side of the road. FLICKR

Eduardo Perez, 33, an Elizabeth native, pleaded guilty on Monday to charges including second-degree vehicular homicide and driving while intoxicated in connection with the death of Rutgers–Newark graduate Mujahid Henry.

An investigation led by the Linden Police Department Accident Investigation Team determined that a 2007 Ford Escape driven by Perez struck Henry while heading eastbound on East Linden Avenue in Linden, New Jersey, according to a press release from the Office of the Union County Prosecutor. 

Henry was thrown into a nearby parked car and pronounced dead at the scene, according to the press release. The second-degree vehicular homicide happened on Friday, May 12, 2017, at approximately 12:30 a.m.

The investigation determined that Perez was speeding and on the wrong side of the road when he struck and killed Henry. Perez also was found to have been in possession of a nearly empty bottle of cognac when he was arrested, and his blood-alcohol level was recorded at more than twice the legal limit of 0.08, according to the release.

The investigation also found that at the time of the arrest, Perez was on probation and driving on a suspended license — after being convicted of robbery and aggravated assault.

According to the investigation, Perez then drove into Elizabeth before abandoning the vehicle on the 700 block of Lidgerwood Avenue. He collided with several parked vehicles along the way, before being located and arrested by Elizabeth Police Department officers on Kenneth Avenue.

Sentencing is scheduled for Friday, March 23, according to the press release. The state is expected to request an eight-year term in state prison, with a minimum of 85 percent of that time being served before the possibility of parole under New Jersey’s No Early Release Act.

In May, The Daily Targum reported that the 23-year-old Henry was a School of Public Affairs and Administration senior who was just days away from receiving his degree. 

The Targum reported that in an email to the student body, Nancy Cantor, chancellor of Rutgers—Newark, said Henry was beloved and admired by student peers, faculty and staff.

She said Henry transferred to Rutgers after attending Essex County College.

“Undoubtedly a star on the rise, he was characteristically hard-working, aspiring to earn a graduate degree and go into politics, amazing all around him with the energy that enabled him to be such a success in college while holding down two jobs and volunteering in support of local public officials," Cantor said. 

Ryan Stiesi

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