†††††††††††††††††† †††† Middlesex County Prosecutorís Office

††††††††††††††††††††††† †††††††† 25 Kirkpatrick Street, 3rd Floor, New Brunswick, New Jersey, 08901 (732) 745-3300

 

††††††††††††††††††††††† †††† *News Release*†††††††††††††††† Date: April 21, 2014

 

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Defendant sentenced for murdering Old Bridge woman

 

††††††††† Middlesex County Acting Prosecutor Andrew C. Carey announced that a Perth Amboy man was sentenced today to serve 30 years in prison for breaking into the home of an Old Bridge woman, strangling her, and setting a fire to conceal the crime.

 

Robert L. Hayes Jr., 36, was ordered to serve the term with no chance for parole for killing Petra Rohrbaugh, 52, of Hilltop Boulevard in the Cliffwood Beach section of Old Bridge.

 

Hayes was sentenced to the term in New Brunswick by Superior Court Judge Michael A. Toto, who said the defendant must undergo parole supervision for five years following his release from custody.

 

Hayes cut short his trial and pleaded guilty on February 6, 2014 to counts of murder, burglary, aggravated arson and desecration of human remains.

 

The guilty plea was entered after Hayes reached an agreement with Middlesex County First Assistant Prosecutor Christopher L.C. Kuberiet and Middlesex County Assistant Prosecutor Vincent Vitale.

 

In pleading guilty, Hayes said he broke into the victimís home, intended to kill her and strangled her before setting fire to her bed and her lifeless body in an effort to conceal his role in the murder.

 

During the trial, Kuberiet and Vitale presented evidence and testimony linking the defendant to the crimes. Ms. Rohrbaugh was found dead in her bedroom on April 8, 2010.

 

Following an intensive investigation by the Old Bridge Police Department, the Middlesex County Prosecutorís Office and the New Jersey State Police, the homicide and related charges were filed against Hayes on April 14, 2010.

 

He initially was arrested and charged on the evening of April 8, 2010, with obstruction and hindering police during the investigation into the womanís death.

 

Hours after the homicide, police traced Hayes to the home of an unidentified friend in Aberdeen, and took him into custody.