The Camden County Prosecutor’s Office and Merchantville Police Department announced a Camden man was sentenced on Thursday to an aggregate term of 60 years in state prison for a double stabbing that killed a Merchantville mother and seriously injured her daughter.
Gilberto Villanueva, 28, was convicted by a jury in October of first-degree murder in the death of 50-year-old Suzanne Durocher and attempted murder for stabbing the victim’s then-22-year-old daughter, Kristen Durocher, at their Merchantville home. He was also convicted of felony murder, burglary, possession of a weapon for an unlawful purpose and unlawful possession of a weapon.
During the trial, Assistant Prosecutor Mary Ellen Murphy presented evidence and testimony showing Villanueva broke into the victims’ home on Prospect Street around 10:30 p.m. on November 13, 2013, and stabbed Suzanne Durocher multiple times with a knife. He then stabbed Kristen Durocher multiples times before fleeing. Kristen Durocher’s young daughter and nephew were present in the home during the attack.
Suzanne Durocher died from her injuries. Kristen Durocher, who had ended a relationship with Villanueva more than two weeks before the attack and told him not to come to her home, survived the stabbing and identified Villanueva as her mother’s killer. She later testified against him at the trial.
Villanueva was admitted to Our Lady of Lourdes Hospital in Camden later on the night of the stabbing to be treated for an injury to his hand consistent with a knife wound. Authorities were notified by hospital staff of Villanueva’s suspicious injury. Camden County Prosecutor’s Office Detective Pete Longo and Merchantville Police Detective Stephen Morrone connected Villanueva with the stabbing based on evidence and witness accounts.
The sentence was imposed by Superior Court Judge Daniel A. Bernardin.
Released Friday, January 15, 2016.