Opening arguments started Monday in the trial of a man accused in the fatal carjacking of an Atlantic City casino patron two years ago, with prosecutors detailing the “brutal nature” of the victim's death.
Craig Arno faces 28 counts - including murder, carjacking and three counts of felony murder - in the death of 47-year-old Martin Caballero of North Bergen. He could face a life sentence if convicted.
Atlantic County prosecutors say Arno and his girlfriend, Jessica Kisby, who has pleaded guilty, carjacked Caballero in the parking garage of the Trump Taj Mahal casino in May 2010 and stabbed him to death. Caballero's burning vehicle was found early the next day, and his remains were found several days later in a farmer's field about 30 minutes west of Atlantic City.
The random attack occurred just moments after Caballero dropped his family off at the casino to celebrate his daughter's 21st birthday.
Prosecutors told jurors that Arno wanted the 2009 Lincoln MKS that Caballero had parked in a secluded spot, hoping to keep his prized possession away from harm. But public defender Eric Shenkus said there's not enough evidence to prove Arno is guilty.
Kisby is expected to testify during the trial, though it's not clear when that may happen.
She pleaded guilty in February to murder, carjacking, auto theft, aggravated arson and three weapons offenses. The plea deal calls for prosecutors to recommend the 30-year sentence on the murder charge, with sentencing on the other charges to be determined by the judge.
Kisby will not be sentenced until after Arno's trial concludes. And if prosecutors determine she did not testify truthfully, they can revoke the plea deal.
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