Forensic evidence examined in case of Bergen sex choking death nearly 4 years later

A Maywood man accused of choking a 19-year-old woman to death during sex appeared in court this week for a status conference, nearly four years after his arrest and the case gained national attention.

Michael Gaffney appeared before Bergen County Superior Court Judge James Sattely on Monday with his attorney, Ilene McFarland, to discuss the latest in the case.

The last time Gaffney appeared in court, which was at the end of June, McFarland was waiting for a report from Dr. Marianne Hamel, a forensic pathologist hired to review the medical examiner’s findings.

During the hearing, McFarland provided Sattely and Bergen County Assistant Prosecutor Suzanne Cevasco with an update, noting that Hamel had just recently gone to the New Jersey State Police forensics lab to look at some slides the medical examiner had looked at.

McFarland said Hamel should begin writing her report soon and she is expecting it to be completed within two weeks. She added that she would touch base with the pathologist in order to make sure there is nothing she needs to do regarding her investigation.

Cevasco requested that any of the notes taken by Hamel and the report be given to the state as part of the case’s discovery, which she estimates will take an additional two weeks depending on what the report contains.

Gaffney is due back in court on Oct. 2 for another status conference.

Gaffney was arrested in November 2019 after he allegedly choked Francis Garcia while they were having rough sex inside her car outside a party in Hackensack. During his detention hearing, Gaffney’s previous attorney, Adam Lustberg, had said an emergency room doctor said Garcia died of a benzodiazepine overdose.

Gaffney is currently under home confinement and is required to wear an ankle monitor. McFarland said it was too soon to estimate when a potential trial could take place.

This article originally appeared on Bergen County sex choking case hearing discusses evidence

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