The Elizabeth man who killed his girlfriend on Easter Sunday 2016 before fleeing the state with their infant daughter has been sentenced to 75 years in state prison for the crime, acting Union County Prosecutor Michael A. Monahan announced Monday.
A minimum of 85 percent of the term must be served before the possibility of parole under the conditions imposed Friday by State Superior Court Judge Lisa Miralles Walsh on 35-year-old Arturo Alomas for the death of 26-year-old Trenice Johnson.
Police responding to the Mravlag Manor housing complex in Elizabeth at approximately 6 p.m. on Sunday, March 27, 2016 found Johnson dead in her apartment, according to Union County Assistant Prosecutor Armando Suarez, who prosecuted the case. An autopsy conducted the next day by the Union County Medical Examiner’s Office determined that the cause of Johnson’s death was manual neck compression, with the manner of death determined to be homicide, Suarez said.
A swift-moving joint investigation involving the Union County Homicide Task Force, Elizabeth Police Department, Union County Sheriff’s Office Identification Unit, North Carolina State Highway Patrol, and Rowan County (North Carolina) Sheriff's Office Criminal Investigation Division resulted in Alomas being identified as a suspect in the case.
He was arrested later on the day of the homicide and charged with multiple criminal and traffic offenses after eluding police in North Carolina following an attempted traffic stop.
The infant daughter of Alomas and Johnson was found unharmed in the vehicle during the course of his arrest.
Alomas remained lodged in Union County Jail on $1 million bail while awaiting a two-week trial before Judge Walsh that ended with a guilty verdict in August 2018.
The victim’s mother, aunt, and two uncles spoke during Friday’s sentencing hearing, when letters from her grandmother and oldest son also were read into the record.
The remarks reflected what the family described as the senseless nature of the killing, which took place as she arrived home after celebrating her birthday with friends and family.
No motive for the crime was ever revealed.
One of the victim’s uncles who spoke Friday since has adopted her now 2-year-old girl, according to the remarks made in court, and he promised to continue giving her the love and support he said she deserves.
“Ironically, after murdering Trenice, the mother of his child, this defendant fled to North Carolina to his own mother -- the person defendant knew, regardless of circumstances, would open her door for him,” Suarez said. “Yet this defendant robbed four children, all under the age of 10, of just that: their mother. Tragically, Trenice’s four children will never have their mother to run to, turn to, or look to, for the rest of their lives.”
Suarez requested the term of life in prison, citing the nature, seriousness, and circumstances of the offense; the risk that the defendant would commit another crime; the need for deterrence; and because the offense involved an act of domestic violence committed in the presence of a young child.
Suarez also cited the extent of Alomas’s prior criminal record, which featured seven prior indictable convictions on crimes including robbery, burglary, theft, eluding police, and aggravated assault.
The State’s motion for an extended term designating Alomas as a persistent offender was granted by Judge Walsh, who described as “fortunate” the notion that the victim’s child was so young at the time of her mother’s death and thus did not have the capacity to understand or remember what happened.
She also cited the brutal nature of the murder, saying Alomas “choked the life out of Trenice” before placing a plastic bag over her head and wrapping duct tape and an electrical cord around her neck, binding her arms and legs together with duct tape.
“This was a crime of unthinkable depravity,” acting Prosecutor Monahan said, “and a life sentence was more than warranted.”