- Associated Press - Saturday, October 25, 2014

HACKENSACK, N.J. (AP) - A New Jersey man who said he was high on drugs and hearing voices when he fatally beat an elderly man with a sauce pan is now headed to state prison.

The Record (http://bitly.com/1w4Q9JP) reports that 23-year-old Edwin Estrada, of Cliffside Park, received a 60-year sentence on Friday. He had been convicted in July on numerous counts, including murder, burglary and robbery charges.

Prosecutors say Estrada attacked and robbed 88-year-old Vincent Leuzzi in the victim’s Fairview apartment in July 2010. Estrada had claimed he was not legally responsible for the murder because he was high on PCP and marijuana and was urged on by the voice of the devil.

Leuzzi died of blunt force trauma caused by at least nine blows, some so forceful they caused multiple fractures and depressions in his skull.

“This was a brutal and vicious killing of a defenseless 88-year-old man,” Superior Court Judge Edward Jerejian told Estrada before he handed down the sentence.

Leuzzi, a retired mason and bricklayer, apparently was dozing while watching television when Estrada, then 18 and living in Cliffside Park, broke in and attacked him. He was caught days later in New York City.

Estrada had pleaded guilty to aggravated manslaughter in January 2013 but his plea deal, which would have capped his prison time at 27 years, was vacated by another judge after Leuzzi’s relatives objected.

Estrada’s attorney, John Pieroni called the 60-year term “greatly excessive.” He plans to appeal the conviction, the sentence and the plea deal reversal.

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Information from: The Record (Woodland Park, N.J.), http://www.northjersey.com

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