Camden County Prosecutor Mary Eva Colalillo and Merchantville Police Chief Wayne Bauer announced a man has been convicted of a double stabbing that killed a Merchantville mother and seriously injured her daughter.
A jury on Tuesday found Gilberto Villanueva, 28, of Camden guilty of first-degree murder in the death of 50-year-old Suzanne Durocher and attempted murder for stabbing the victim’s then-22-year-old daughter, Kristen Durocher, at their Merchantville home. He was also convicted of felony murder, burglary, possession of a weapon for an unlawful purpose and unlawful possession of a weapon.
During the trial, Assistant Prosecutor Mary Ellen Murphy presented evidence and testimony showing Villanueva broke into the victims’ home on Prospect Street around 10:30 p.m. on November 13, 2013, and stabbed Suzanne Durocher multiple times with a knife. He then stabbed Kristen Durocher multiples times before fleeing. Kristen Durocher's young daughter and nephew were present in the home during the attack.
Suzanne Durocher died from her injuries. Kristen Durocher, who had ended a relationship with Villanueva more than two weeks before the attack and told him not to come to her home, survived the stabbing and identified Villanueva as her mother’s killer. She later testified against him at the trial.
Villanueva was admitted to Our Lady of Lourdes Hospital in Camden later on the night of the stabbing to be treated for an injury to his hand consistent with a knife wound. Authorities were notified by hospital staff of Villanueva’s suspicious injury. Camden County Prosecutor's Office Detective Pete Longo and Merchantville Police Detective Stephen Morrone connected Villanueva with the stabbing based on evidence and witness accounts.
Villanueva faces a potential maximum sentence of life plus 20 years in prison.
He is scheduled to be sentenced on December 4 before Superior Court Judge Daniel A. Bernardin.