New Jersey man guilty of pushing woman out of window has been convicted of murder
TRENTON — A state appeals court has upheld the conviction of a Piscataway man who was convicted of murdering a 31-year-old Raritan Borough woman by pushing her out of her third-floor apartment window.
Christopher Koller, 44, is serving a 60-year sentence in New Jersey State Prison for the November 1, 2016 murder of Beth Bezek.
Although the appeals committee upheld the sentence, it ordered that the case be sent back to Superior Court Judge Pedro Jimenez to explain his reasons for imposing the sentence, as required by a ruling. of the State Supreme Court.
Koller was also convicted of distributing cocaine and obstructing his arrest.
In his appeal, Koller argued that he was denied a fair trial due to inappropriate comments made by Middlesex County Assistant District Attorney Scott Lamountain during cross-examination and closing arguments, and Jimenez argued. allowed friends and relatives of Bezek attending the trial to wear pink clothes or ribbons. . But the Court of Appeal did not accept these arguments.
The prosecutor had argued that Koller smothered Bezek unconscious and then threw her out the window of her Pond Lane flat because she refused to have sex with him.
But Koller’s defense was that the prosecution’s case was absurd and unsupported by evidence. Koller said he had no reason to impose himself on Bezek or kill her, pointing to the text messages as evidence of a casual and intimate relationship.
Koller argued that Bezek, high on cocaine, “freaked out and jumped out the window,” according to court documents.
But the prosecution argued that Koller’s actions on the night of Bezek’s death indicated his guilt.
During the trial, Koller, who had previously been convicted of theft by deception in a Far Hills home repair scam and was on probation, testified that after Bezek jumped out of the window, he ran downstairs before to go back upstairs to call 911. He said he then panicked, got Bezek’s cell phone and drove to New Brunswick looking for a payphone to call 911. He said he had told an operator where to find Bezek but did not give his name.
Koller said he then returned to the apartment where several police cars were located. After asking an officer what was going on, he said he went upstairs without saying he was involved.
When the police knocked on his door, Koller said he was in Manville with a friend. But when the officer noticed blood on his shirt, he admitted Bezek was in his apartment, they had a fight and she jumped out the window.
He was then arrested.
In closing argument, the prosecutor doubted Koller’s story.
“Innocent people try to help their friends in times of need. Right?” Lamountain told the jury.
“But what are the culprits doing? They are fleeing. They are fleeing the scene,” the prosecutor continued.
Koller’s maximum release date is May 31, 2054, when he will be 77 years old.
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Mike Deak is a reporter for mycentraljersey.com. To get unlimited access to her articles on Somerset and Hunterdon counties, please subscribe or activate your digital account today.