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Hunterdon County man found guilty of murder of Manville Borough man

SOMERVILLE, NJ (Somerset County) – A Hunterdon County man has been found guilty of murder for the criminal homicide death of a Manville Borough man, according to Somerset County.

Samuel C. Coggins, 31, Flemington was found guilty of first-degree murder (with aggravating factors that the murder was outrageously or wantonly vile, horrible, or inhuman in that it involved torture, depravity of mind, or an aggravated assault to the victim) and first-degree bias intimidation in the death of Augustine Garcia, 50, of Manville Borough, McDonald said.

On July 14, at around 2:56 p.m., police responded to a 9-1-1 call reporting an assault outside a residence on North 12th Avenue and an unconscious male, McDonald said.

Upon officers arrival, police encountered an unresponsive male suffering from a severe head injury and initiated life saving measures. Garcia was transported to an area hospital where he was subsequently pronounced dead, McDonald said.

According to McDonald, the 9-1-1 caller identified Samuel C. Coggins, 30, of Flemington, who remained at the scene, as the individual involved in the physical assault of Garcia. Coggins was then transported to the Manville Police Department.

The investigation revealed that Coggins was at the residence to assist Garcia and an unnamed resident with moving from the residence. Coggins then assaulted Garcia while outside in the driveway of the residence causing injuries which led to his death, McDonald said.

Coggins received a trial by jury during the week of Sep. 25, in front of the Honorable Peter J. Tober, Presiding Judge, Criminal Division and that same jury issued a guilty verdict on Oct. 3, to murder and bias intimidation, McDonald said.

Coggins will be sentenced on Nov. 13 and faces a mandatory sentence of life imprisonment without eligibility for parole, with the possibility of an additional term of imprisonment between 15 and 30 years. That sentence will be served in a maximum-security prison, McDonald said.

Jay Edwards

Born and raised in Northwest NJ, Jay has a degree in Communications and has had a life-long interest in local radio and various styles of music. Jay has held numerous jobs over the years such as stunt car driver, bartender, voice-over artist, traffic reporter (award winning), NY Yankee maintenance crewmember and peanut farm worker. His hobbies include mountain climbing, snowmobiling, cooking, performing stand-up comedy and he is an avid squirrel watcher. Jay has been a guest on America’s Morning Headquarters,program on The Weather Channel, and was interviewed by Sam Champion.

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