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Two Elizabeth Residents Sentenced for Local Bar Deadly Beating



By: Yuritza Arroyo

Authorities in Union County announced that two men – one who was convicted at trial and another who pled guilty – were sentenced to State Prison Friday for their roles in the beating death of 28-year-old Oscar Melara of Elizabeth in 2019.

According to officials, Laquan McCall, 31 was sentenced and  convicted at trial of second-degree manslaughter in November of last year -- to an extended term of 16 years in State Prison.

Officials say convictions on second-degree crimes usually carry a term of between 5 and 10 years, but based on McCall’s prior criminal history, Judge Rodriguez ordered that McCall be sentenced as a persistent offender and imposed the 16-year sentence, directing that McCall must serve at least 85% of that sentence before being eligible for parole.

Judge Rodriguez also sentenced Christopher Elliott – who pled guilty as an accomplice to third-degree aggravated assault in December – to 3 years in State Prison.

According to authorities, shortly after 2 a.m. on the morning of Saturday, July 27, 2019, Elizabeth Police Department patrol units responded to a report of an altercation at Ben’s Bar on the 600 block of Meadow Street and found Melara, 28, who had sustained severe injuries, according to Union County Assistant Prosecutors Alaina Caliendo and Jillian Reyes, who prosecuted the case.

Authorities say Melara was transported to Trinitas Regional Medical Center, where he was pronounced dead, Caliendo and Reyes added.

Testimony presented during the trial revealed that McCall punched the victim approximately four times outside the bar after an altercation, ultimately causing brain injuries that led to Melara’s death.

After McCall’s conviction, Elliott admitted to acting as an accomplice by driving McCall from the scene after the attack.