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Robert Zarinsky

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Title: Robert Zarinsky  
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Subject: Linden, New Jersey, Deaths in November 2008
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Robert Zarinsky

Robert Zarinsky (September 2, 1940? – November 28, 2008)[1] was a convicted murderer and suspected serial killer[1] from Linden, New Jersey. He was sentenced to life imprisonment for the 1969 murder of Rosemary Calandriello of Atlantic Highlands, New Jersey. On March 11, 2008, he was indicted for the 1968 murder of Jane Durrua of Keansburg. He was acquitted in 2001 of the 1958 murder of Rahway, New Jersey police officer Charles Bernoskie. He was also a suspect in the murders of Linda Balabano, Ann Logan of Elizabeth, Doreen Carlucci and Joanne Delardo of Woodbridge Township, New Jersey.

Calandriello murder

Rosemary Calandriello was a 17-year-old girl from Atlantic Highlands, New Jersey, who disappeared on August 25, 1969. Her body was never recovered. Zarinsky was convicted in 1975 of her murder. He was sentenced to life imprisonment. In 1988, Zarinsky admitted that he had accidentally killed her and buried her body in a grave in northwest New Jersey. He also stated to another investigator that he had thrown her body into the Atlantic Ocean. Zarinsky was the first person in New Jersey ever to be convicted of murder without a body being found.

Bernoskie murder

In 2001, Zarinsky was tried and acquitted of the November 28, 1958 murder of Rahway police officer Charles Bernoskie. Bernoskie stumbled upon a burglary in progress at Miller Pontiac in Rahway. He was shot and killed by one of the perpetrators of the crime, either Zarinsky or Theodore Schiffer. Although Bernoskie shot both suspects, they were able to elude capture. No one was charged with the crime until 1999.[2]

Zarinsky's former neighbor, retired Linden police officer Millie Gagliardi, reported that Zarinsky displayed disturbing behavior growing up and predicted the cover-up by Zarinsky's protective mother. She most notably recalled him killing animals in the local park and his mother repeatedly excusing his alarming violence.

Schiffer left a fingerprint at the scene of the crime, but it was not until 1999 that the fingerprint was able to be matched to Schiffer. He had never been fingerprinted and therefore there was no record of his fingerprints. Schiffer was implicated in the murder by Zarinsky’s sister Judith Sapsa, who herself was under investigation for embezzling money from a mutual fund account owned by Robert Zarinsky. Schiffer testified against Zarinsky, pleaded guilty and served three years in Pennsylvania for the crime.[2]

Zarinsky contacted the authorities when his yearly statement of his mutual fund account that he had inherited from his mother did not arrive at his prison address. He discovered that his sister and her husband Peter Sapsa had nearly emptied the account by embezzling $121,500 from it. Judith Sapsa would later testify at the Bernoskie murder trial that she assisted her mother with removing bullets from Zarinsky and Schiffer on the night of the Bernoskie murder. Sapsa also testified that Zarinsky stated to her that “Teddy and I shot a cop." Despite the testimony of Schiffer and Sapsa, Zarinsky was acquitted of the Bernoskie murder.[2]

The same month that Zarinsky was indicted for the murder, Bette Bernoskie, the widow of Charles Bernoskie, filed a wrongful death suit against Zarinsky in civil court. In August 2003, a jury found Zarinsky responsible for the death and awarded Bette Bernoskie $9,500,000 plus interest. In 2004, $154,000 was seized from Zarinsky’s assets, and Bette Bernoskie divided her award among her six children. In July 2007, a New Jersey Appellate Court reversed the decision and ordered the money returned to Zarinsky, citing his inability to put on a proper defense. Bette Bernoskie no longer had the money and the New Jersey Patrolmen's Benevolent Association has organized efforts to repay the money. It is their intention that neither Bette Bernoskie nor her children will ever give back the award money.[2]

Durrua murder

On March 11, 2008, the grand jury sitting in Freehold, New Jersey returned an indictment against Zarinsky for the 1968 murder of 13-year-old Jane Durrua.[3] Durrua disappeared on the evening of November 4, 1968, and her body was found the next morning in a field in North Middletown, New Jersey.[4]

Zarinsky's death

On November 28, 2008, Zarinsky died at the South Woods State Prison in Bridgeton, New Jersey of pulmonary fibrosis, a scarring of the lung tissue that made it increasingly difficult for him to breathe.[1]


External links

  • Deadly Secrets by Robin Gaby Fisher and Judith Lucas
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