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

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

 

††††††††††††††††††††††† †††† *News Release*†††††††††††††††† Date: February 7, 2014

 

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Defendant pleads guilty to murdering Old Bridge woman

 

 

Middlesex County Acting Prosecutor Andrew C. Carey announced today that a Perth Amboy man has pleaded guilty to charges of breaking into the home of an Old Bridge woman, strangling her, and setting a fire.

 

Robert L. Hayes Jr. (DOB 10/4/77) admitted counts of murder, burglary, aggravated arson and desecration of human remains in the death of Petra Rohrbaugh, 52, of Hilltop Boulevard in the Cliffwood Beach section of Old Bridge.

 

Hayes cut short his murder trial and pleaded guilty on February 6, 2014, after reaching an agreement with Middlesex County First Assistant Prosecutor Christopher L.C. Kuberiet and Middlesex County Assistant Prosecutor Vincent Vitale.

 

Under the terms of the plea, Hayes will be sentenced to 30 years in a New Jersey state prison with no chance for parole. The guilty plea was entered during a hearing in New Brunswick before Superior Court Judge Michael A. Toto, who will sentence the defendant on April 21, 2014.

 

In pleading guilty, Hayes said he broke into the victimís home, intended to kill her and strangled her before setting fire to her bed.

 

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.