- Associated Press - Saturday, February 22, 2014

NEW BRUNSWICK, N.J. (AP) - A judge has vacated part of a plea deal given to a man charged in the unprovoked fatal beating of a central New Jersey father who was attacked while walking with his family.

State Superior Court Judge Bradley Ferencz issued his ruling Friday. He determined that Steven Contreras lied when he testified during the trial of two other defendants who were cleared of all major charges last fall.

Those two defendants were convicted of simple assault and sentenced to six months each in the county jail. The two other teens charged in the case pleaded guilty to aggravated manslaughter and are now serving state prison terms.

Contreras eventually pleaded guilty to conspiracy to commit aggravated assault after a jury acquitted him of murder and aggravated manslaughter charges, but couldn’t decide on manslaughter. He was due to receive a 4-year state prison term, but authorities say he could now face up to 30 years in prison when he’s sentenced March 7.

Contreras’ lawyer, Carlos Diaz-Cobo, has also filed a motion to vacate his plea so his client can get a new trial. Arguments on that motion are also scheduled for next month.

Contreras was among five teenagers charged in the 2010 attack on Divyendu Sinha, who was beaten as he walked with his wife and two sons in Old Bridge. Prosecutors have said Contreras was driving a car that the four other defendants were riding in, allegedly looking for random victims to attack.

All five were juveniles at the time.

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