Ray Cooley, a 27-year-old resident of Nutley, New Jersey, recently appeared in Essex County Superior Court in Newark for a formal sentencing hearing in his criminal case. Cooley was being sentenced in connection with the killing of William Fitzsimmons.
The homicide occurred on May 17, 2015. According to Essex County prosecutors, Cooley committed a home invasion and violently attacked Fitzsimmons at his house on Cedar Hill Avenue in Belleville, NJ.
The victim was 86 years old and may have been targeted by Cooley because he was elderly. The victim lived in Belleville NJ and was a retired captain with the U.S. Army National Guard.
Two people happened to be walking by the residence when they spotted Fitzsimmons lying on the ground and suffering from serious injuries to his head and face.
An ambulance rushed Fitzsimmons to University Hospital in Newark NJ, where he underwent emergency surgery. Tragically, the victim died two weeks after being admitted to the hospital. Medical examiners later said that the victim’s cause of death was blunt force trauma injuries.
Now Cooley will be spending a significant amount of time behind bars. He was sentenced to a term of incarceration of 16 years in NJ State Prison.
If Cooley had fought the charges and gone to trial, he would have faced first degree murder charges that could have resulted in life imprisonment.
To learn more about this case, see the NorthJersey.com article, “Nutley Man Sentenced for Belleville Manslaughter.”