Jefferson Woman's Murderer Gets 40-Year Sentence
Demetrius Diaz-Bridges will have to serve 85 percent of sentence before becoming eligible for parole.
Demetrius Diaz-Bridges was sentenced on Friday to 40 years in prison for the murder of Elizabeth O’Brien on Jan. 30, 2008 at her Nolan’s Point Road Home.
Diaz-Bridges will be required to serve 85 percent, or 34 years, of his sentence before becoming eligible for parole, according to the sentence handed down by Judge Robert J. Mega in Union County Court. He will get credit for the 1,526 days he has already spent in jail.
“I find the defendant has gone against the flow of society’s rules and norms,” Mega said in discussing this case along with Diaz-Bridges’ prior criminal record, which includes arrests on charges of drug possession, theft and possession of a weapon for unlawful purposes.
“I also find that Mr. Diaz-Bridges did nothing to help her after she fell and hit her head. Instead, he pummeled her with a dumbbell. There was nothing to provoke such a heinous attack. Then he hid the body, virtually guaranteeing that her sons would find it upon their return home from school. His cover-up was well planned.”
On January 30, 2008, police found O'Brien, 49, dead in a closet in her residence. The next day, an autopsy report determined the cause of death was blunt force trauma to the head, according to the Morris County Prosecutor's Office.
Diaz-Bridges, a neighbor of O'Brien and a friend of one of her sons, had stayed at the house the night before O'Brien was found, the prosecutor's office said.
In May of that year, detectives from the Morris County Prosecutor's Office, Morris County Sheriff’s Office and Jefferson Township Police Department located Diaz-Bridges in Raleigh, North Carolina. Though he refused to waive extradition, he was ultimately lodged in the Union County Correctional Facility. The case was moved to Union County to avoid conflict of interest since O’Brien’s brother-in-law was an employee of the Morris County Superior Court.
"This sentence is extremely gratifying," Morris County Prosecutor Robert A. Bianchi said in a prepared statement.
"Through incredible investigative perseverance to solve this case over many months, and extraordinary legal tenacity taking this matter all the way to the Supreme Court, the dividends have resulted in bringing justice to Elizabeth O'Brien and her family. I am proud of the skilled work of law enforcement and my prosecution team in such a worthy pursuit."
Earlier this year, the state Supreme Court determined statements Diaz-Bridges made at the time of his arrest could be used against him. In a 3-2 opinion written by Justice Helen Hoens, the Court held that the police committed no constitutional error as the defendant’s requests to speak to his mother were not assertions of his right to remain silent.
Diaz-Bridges had admitted hitting O’Brien after she allegedly asked him for marijuana and the two argued, according to a story in the Daily Record.