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Murder Conviction Upheld in 2012 Slaying of Glassboro Woman


Gloucester County Prosecutor Charles Fiore is reporting that the New Jersey Superior Court’s Appellate Division has upheld the conviction and sentencing of Charles Sawyer.

According to authorities, on Feb. 26, 2016, Sawyer, subsequent to a trial by jury, was convicted of murder, kidnapping and related charges stemming from the July 2, 2012 shooting murder of Rita Sawyer, his ex-wife whom he had divorced some ten years earlier.

Subsequent to the conviction, Sawyer was sentenced by the Honorable Kevin Smith, JSC to 61 years in New Jersey State Prison.

Officials say on July 2, 2012, Charles Sawyer commenced a series of actions which led directly to his ex-wife’s murder at her Glassboro residence. He stole a handgun from a residence where he was housesitting, drove to Rita Sawyer’s residence in Glassboro, and gained entry, lying in wait to ambush Rita Sawyer when she returned home from work for a dinner break.

Upon Ms. Sawyer’s return home, Charles Sawyer pursued her within the residence, bound her arms behind her back with duct tape he brought to the scene, and subsequently shot her in the temple at point-blank range. Charles Sawyer fled the scene and was arrested later that night in Upper Pittsgrove Township in Salem County by NJSP personnel, at which time he possessed the murder weapon.

Prosecutor Fiore “applauds the exemplary investigative and prosecutorial teamwork which led to Charles Sawyer’s conviction and his lengthy sentence, now endorsed by the Appellate Division. These wanton, vicious and calculated actions by Charles Sawyer not only deprived Rita Sawyer of her life, but also the chance to build her future in the company of family and friends who cared for her deeply. I am hopeful that these successful efforts to bring Charles Sawyer to justice play a small part in ensuring a sense of closure for those who remember and mourn the loss of Rita Sawyer. Multiple law enforcement agencies, including the Glassboro Police Department and New Jersey State Police, worked closely with the Gloucester County Prosecutor’s Office to bring this matter to appropriate closure. Worthy of special recognition are then Detectives Ron Koller of the GCPO and Louis Butler of the Glassboro Police Department for their investigative efforts and Staci Scheetz, GCPO Chief of Grand Jury who presented a compelling and articulate case to the jury, resulting in Charles Sawyer’s conviction and substantial sentence.”