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Too soon to tie murder of East Rutherford woman, 70, to 2010 arson-related killings, prosecutor says

Photo Credit: Cliffview Pilot

UPDATE: It was premature to suggest that the murder of an elderly East Rutherford woman whose house was then set on fire is in any way connected to two similar homicides two years ago, one in Palisades Park and the other in Teaneck, Bergen County Prosecutor John L. Molinelli said tonight.

Bergen County Prosecutor John L. Molinelli (CLIFFVIEW PILOT photo by Mary K. Miraglia) INSET: Barbara Vernieri

YOU READ IT HERE FIRST: An East Rutherford woman’s killer torched her house after hitting her with something — and not stabbing her, as incorrectly reported elsewhere, Bergen County Prosecutor John L. Molinelli said this morning. Investigators “have not ruled out the possibility” of a link to similar killings of two elderly women in 2010, he added. READ MORE….

“While the salient facts would suggest a connection with one or both prior similar murders… no determination has been made at this time that would confirm or rule such out until a forensic examination can be conducted of the deceased,” the prosecutor said. “That is expected to occur sometime [Saturday], and, at that time, this office shall issue such further information as is appropriate.”

Members of the East Rutherford Fire and Police Departments found Barbara R. Vernieri’s body after rushing to the fire on the first floor of her two-family house at 18 Sheppard Terrace around 12:30 Friday afternoon.

“Her body had been subjected to the fire,” Molinelli said late Friday, “but it appears that the cause of her death is the result of a homicide.”

An initial Medical Examiner’s inspection of the body suggests the murder took place a short time before the fire was set, he said.

Molinelli was concerned that certain media organizations were drawing ties to the April 2010 stabbing death in Palisades park of 69-year-old Dolores Alliotts, whose house was torched, and the killing four months later in Teaneck of Joan Davis, 74, a political watchdog who’d been beaten and stabbed before a fire was set.

Both lived alone.

Meanwhile, records show that Vernieri’s husband died in 2009.

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