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Breaking news & local stories from Camden City, Berlin, Laurel Springs and more

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    Take a look at state history and see which teams have won it all in the TOC.

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    The victim was under age 13 when the man was in his mid-twenties

    A Gloucester City man will serve five years in prison for sexually assaulted a girl under the age of 13 while he was in his mid-twenties.

    palillero.JPGMiguel Palillero, jail photo 

    Judge Robert P. Becker sentenced Miguel Palillero, 27, after he pleaded guilty to second-degree sexual assault while he was at least four years older than the victim.

    The assault occurred in Westville between January 2013 and December 2014, the Gloucester County Prosecutor's Office said in a news release.

    Under the state's No Early Release Act, Palillero must serve 85 percent of the sentence before he is eligible for parole.

    And he will have to register as a sex offender when he is released from prison.

    Joe Brandt can be reached at Follow him on Twitter @JBrandt_NJ. Find on Facebook.

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    New Jersey would be the seventh state to permit terminally ill people to obtain a lethal dose of medication to end their lives.

    Should doctors help terminally ill patients end their lives? 

    That emotional issue has been revived in the state Legislature now that Phil Murphy has replaced Chris Christie as governor. 

    After a lengthy and sometimes angry hearing in Trenton, an Assembly panel on Monday approved a bill that would allow terminally ill people to request medication from a doctor to end their lives. It cleared the Assembly Judiciary Committee by a 5-2 vote.

    The bill (A1504) was backed a group of nurses, physicians and family caregivers who insisted these patients deserve the chance to limit their suffering.

    It was opposed by other medical professionals and religious leaders, as well as people with physical disabilities, who warned that people facing the last months or weeks of their lives may be steered toward suicide by subtle family pressure, guilt over being a burden, and insurance companies' refusal to pay for complex and expensive care.

    N.J.'s 'Aid in Dying' bill: What you need to know

    Oregon physician Brian Callister said he has treated two patients for whom insurance companies balked at covering "life-saving procedures," and inquired whether the patients had considered availing themselves of the state's law to end their lives. 

    "Between insurance companies wanting the cheapest way out with gross incentives, and family trying to push granny down the road, we have seen it," McAllister said.

    Assemblyman John Burzichelli (D-Burlington), the bill's sponsor, assured the committee the legislation contains "checks and balances," including a 15-day waiting period, a requirement two individuals must attest the patient is of sound mind and the authority for the doctor to refer the patient to a psychiatrist or psychologist to determine mental stability.

    "Should we deny people in New Jersey who want this option?" he asked.

    This is Burzichelli's third try to pass aid in dying legislation. The first two attempts were abandoned because Christie was sure to veto the bill. But this was first since Murphy took office in January, and Burzichelli said he was hopeful.

    "I am confident we have the votes in the Assembly -- this is our third time here," Burzichelli said. "I also feel the makeup in the Senate is favorable to us now. I think we could get this to the governor's desk."

    Before the hearing, Burzichelli said he has spoken to Murphy's office about the bill but said he wouldn't feel comfortable discussing what was said.

    New Jersey would be the seventh state to permit people with terminal illnesses to take their own lives. Thirty-seven states have passed laws making the practice illegal, according to, an nonprofit, independent, nonpartisan website.

    The bill is named "Aid in Dying for the Terminally Ill Act," a carefully-word title proponents say emphasizes that patients themselves administer the life-ending drugs a physician has prescribed. Opponents dismiss the wording as semantics, and wore small placards urging the committee to vote no on "assisted suicide."

    Parts of the bill were rewritten to deflect some of the past criticism, such as the accusation that terminally ill patients are not aware of other options like hospice or palliative care.

    According to the bill, "more than 90 percent of patients in Oregon... and between 72 percent and 86 percent of patients in Washington were enrolled in hospice care at the time of death, suggesting that those patients had availed themselves of available treatment and comfort care options available to them at the time they requested compassionate aid in dying."

    opponentsAID.jpgMonroe Laremore of Trenton, left, and Lindsay Tuman of West Milford, wait their turn to speak out against the "Aid in Dying the for Terminally Ill Act," at the Statehouse in Trenton Monday. (Susan K. Livio | NJ Advance Media)

    People may request their physicians for life-ending medication only if they have received a terminal diagnosis, defined as an incurable, irreversible and medically confirmed disease that will end the person's life within six months. Burzichelli said the bill clearly states disabilities are not terminal illnesses, so those who believes disabled people are at risk "have been miscounseled."

    William Eames of Whippany noted the bill is missing involvement from clergy or religious leaders.

    "The majority of Americans  would argue that a decision to purposefully end a life is as much a soul issue as a medical one," he said. "Humans did not create life."

    Penny Postel of Cherry Hill  asked the committee to put aside individual religious beliefs, as she choked back tears describing the death of her 52-year-old son four years ago.

    "He was not afraid of death, he was afraid of dying," in particular the "agonizing pain" and his inability to take care of his most basic needs, like going to the bathroom. "He was suffering beyond anyone would want to see or endure. He died at home in my arms."

    "We are supposed to have a country free from religious scriptures," Postel said.

    Susan K. Livio may be reached at Follow her on Twitter @SusanKLivio. Find Politics on Facebook

    0 0 takes a look at the Tournament of Champions quarterfinals.

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    Enrique Silva fled from a work detail in May 1995. He was found last week in Orlando

    Nearly 23 years after walking off a work detail, an escaped New Jersey prisoner was captured in Florida, authorities said.

    Enrique Silva, now 73, was taken into custody by the the U.S. Marshals Service after running out the back door of a house in Orlando on Thursday morning.

    silva-captured.jpgEnrique Silva as in inmate in the late 1980s and 1990s, left, and after being captured last week in Florida, right. (DOC) 

    Silva was serving the sixth year of an eight to 20 year sentence for dealing drugs at the since-closed Riverfront State Prison in Camden when he vanished on May 16, 1995.

    Last month, Department of Corrections investigators, now part of the marshals service regional task force, learned of an address in Orlando where a "potential female acquaintance" of Silva resided.

    Investigators began conducting surveillance and one day saw a man wearing a gray beard matching Silva's description walking in and out of the home. 

    "It was old-fashioned police work," said Mike Schroeder, a spokesman for the U.S. Marshals Office. "A lot of interviews and unearthing of potential addresses. In this type of work, a lot of leads don't pan out and (investigators) finally hit pay dirt."

    Silva, who is in custody in Florida, will next have an identity hearing before arrangements are made to return him to New Jersey, Schroeder said 

    Silva's prison term began on Feb. 17, 1989, according to DOC records.

    Jeff Goldman may be reached at Follow him on Twitter @JeffSGoldman. Find on Facebook.


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    New Jersey's wealthiest counties are among the healthiest too, according to an annual survey by the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation.

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    The director of the school in Plainfield is charged with two counts of cruelty or neglect of children.

    A Plainfield preschool administrator brandished a knife at students earlier this year and threatened to hurt them if they kept misbehaving, authorities said Wednesday. 

    Adetokunbo AkinnasoAdetokunbo O. Akinnaso (Courtesy of Union County Prosecutor's Office)

    The director of Dawn To Dusk Christian Childcare and Learning Center, Adetokunbo O. Akinnaso, is charged with two counts of cruelty or neglect of children, the Union County Prosecutor's Office said. 

    Neither of the two 4-year-olds who were threatened were injured, prosecutors said. 

    Akinnaso, 64, of Sicklerville, surrendered to law enforcement Tuesday and was released pending a first court appearance on April 2. 

    No one answered the phone at a number listed for Akinnaso in public records, and she did not immediately respond to a Facebook message requesting comment. 

    A woman who came to the phone at the preschool declined to comment and said Akinnaso was not there. 

    Dawn To Dusk Christian Childcare and Learning Center serves students through age 13, but prosecutors said the alleged threats happened only on the preschool portion of the campus. 

    The case was referred to the county prosecutor's office from the state Department of Children and Families Institutional Abuse Investigation Unit. 

    Marisa Iati may be reached at Follow her on Twitter @Marisa_Iati or on Facebook here. Find on Facebook.

    Sara Jerde may be reached at Follow her on Twitter @SaraJerde.

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    Looking for a place to go for a drink in New Jersey always allowed for lots of choices.

    If you're looking for a place to go for a drink in New Jersey ... where will you have the most choices?

    I guess it all depends on how you measure it.

    Per square mile? If that's your criteria, says that Hoboken's your place, and the Huffington Post confirms it: "The quaint little town once held the Guinness Book of World Record for having the most bars per square mile." That was around 2011, though; it seems to have since been beaten out by Oswego, N.Y.

    By population? A ranking on says that Wildwood has the most bars per capita in New Jersey followed by Atlantic City and Asbury Park.

    MORE: Vintage photos around New Jersey

    New Jersey doesn't even scare the top of the list when it comes to bars per capita as a state;'s stats show us ranked 29th, with North Dakota, Montana, Wisconsin and South Dakota leading the way.

    As you scroll through the photos in this and past galleries I've posted on New Jersey bars and taverns, some other questions might arise, such as which bar had the most barstools crammed into the smallest amount of floor space? That might just have been Littman's Tavern in Newark. Were there and are there places that didn't have bars? The most recent tally by, ironically, shows that 32 of the state's 565 municipalities are still alcohol-free, the 21st Amendment notwithstanding.

    Here's a gallery of places to go to hoist a glass from days gone by in New Jersey. Didn't see a personal favorite? Click on the links to the following galleries - there's a good chance you'll find it there.

    Vintage photos of taverns and bars in N.J.

    Vintage photos of bars and watering holes in N.J.

    More vintage photos of bars and taverns in N.J.

    Greg Hatala may be reached at Follow him on Twitter @GregHatala. Find Greg Hatala on Facebook.

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    Should students be punished for participating in the national walkout?

    Students across the nation participated in National Walkout Day Wednesday to honor the 17 people killed in a Florida school shooting on Feb. 14.

    Some schools encouraged the walkouts, which took place at 10 a.m. for 17 minutes, each minute honoring one of the victims. But some schools were more strict.

    Cherry Hill High School East last month said students would be suspended and banned from their senior trip and prom if they participated in the walkout.

    Students at Warren Hills Regional High School this week said protesting is worth any punishment. It is against school policy for students to leave the building without authorization.

    Should students who participated in the walkouts be punished?

    Vote in our informal and unscientific poll and tell us why in the comments section.

    Bookmark Follow on Twitter @NJ_Opinion and find Opinion on Facebook.

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    Meet the All-State girls athletes from the 2018 NJ winter track season

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    Former Somerset County Prosecutor Geoff Soriano will be interim director of county park system.

    A former Somerset County Prosecutor who was replaced two years ago after a string of controversial incidents has been appointed the interim director of the Somerset County Park System.

    Geoffrey Soriano will begin his new position as interim secretary-director next month, according to a statement from the Park Commission released Thursday.

    Soriano was replaced by Gov. Chris Christie in 2016 after mounting criticism about his handling of the violent deaths of John and Joyce Sheridan. The couple was found dead inside the master bedroom of their Montgomery Township home in 2014.

    They had stab wounds and the bedroom and home were ravaged by a fire fueled by gasoline. The Somerset County Prosecutor's Office ruled the case a murder-suicide, but the state's medical examiner reversed the ruling last year, indicating that the manner of death could not be determined.

    John Sheridan, 72, spent four decades in state government, serving as a deputy attorney general, assistant counsel to Gov. William T. Cahill and a lawyer for the state Turnpike Authority. He was president and CEO of Cooper University Health System in Camden from 2005 until his death.

    State medical examiner reverses suicide ruling

    Somerset County Freeholder Mark Caliguire, the board's liaison to the park commission, said Thursday he and the other freeholders fully endorsed Soriano's hiring.

    "He has unimpeachable credibility and he's a stand up guy," Caliguire said. "I feel really good about him coming in at least in the interim to manage the park commission day to day. My impression is that Geoff does things by the book. There's nothing that indicates as prosecutor Geoff Soriano did anything out of the ordinary."

    Efforts to reach Soriano through park commission spokesman Rich Reitman on Thursday were not successful. Soriano was most recently employed as an assistant attorney general in state government, the statement from the park commission said.

    Soriano had served as county prosecutor for five years, and is a graduate of Brown University and Seton Hall University School of Law.

    He will replace Raymond Brown, who recently announced his retirement.

    Soriano was replaced within three weeks of the suicide of a Somerset County attorney who had been charged with three counts of criminal sexual contact, a fourth-degree offense that carries the presumption of non-incarceration. The morning after those charges were made public in a media release, the attorney was found dead in a car parked in front of his law offices.

    At the time some criticized the prosecutor's office and the media for releasing so many details about the alleged incident that led to his arrest.

    It came at the same time public pressure was being increased by the adult children of the Sheridans, who opposed the ruling in the death of their parents.

    "I think there has been a long history of failures in that office," said Mark Sheridan, citing his parents' death, shortly after Soriano was replaced as prosecutor.

    The prior criticism didn't dampen the enthusiasm Somerset County officials have for Soriano.

    "The commissioners and I are convinced Geoff has the experience, the vision and the leadership ability to keep the commission moving forward," said Bill Crosby, president of the park commission.

    Soriano will oversee 200 full-time employees and 300 seasonal workers leading the park commission. His salary will be $145,000 annually, Caliguire said. Brown, who had been the park director for the past 25 years earned $178,230 annually.

    The park commission will be interviewing for Brown's permanent replacement, and Soriano will be eligible to submit his credentials for the position, according to a news release.

    The commission has a budget this past year of $19,867,097. The county has 15,000 acres of open space, including 8,900 acres of passive and active space, with five public golf courses and horse stables and riding facilities.

    Bill Duhart may be reached at Follow him on Twitter @bduhart. Find on FacebookHave a tip? Tell us.

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    If there's a pot o' gold to be found this Paddy's Day, it will be probably be in the one of these towns.

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    All high-risk and most moderate-risk offenders are listed online -- 4,397 as of Wednesday.

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    Authorities are looking for the motorist who stabbed Joseph Pirri on March 7.

    Relatives and friends of a Camden County man stabbed to death in a road rage assault are rallying to help his family as police search for his killer.

    Joseph Pirri, 32, of Blackwood, died Thursday of injuries he suffered in the March 7 incident in Deptford Township. Pirri was stabbed in the face with what investigators described as a sharp instrument around 4:20 p.m. on Tanyard Road near Mail Avenue.

    A GoFundMe campaign launched Friday to help the Pirri family with expenses described Pirri as "the true definition of a good guy." 

    "Joe was just trying to get home from work during the worst nor'easter of the year," according to the GoFundMe post. "This vicious act not only took Joe from his family forever, but also has left his wife with a financial hardship, as Joe was the main provider for his family."

    As of Saturday afternoon, just over $1,300 had been raised.

    Pirri was recalled as a loving family man. He's married with a 4-year-old son and 9-year-old stepdaughter. 

    "Joe was the kind of guy that would go out of his way to help people," said Sarah Morciglio, aunt of Pirri's 4-year-old son, Gino. "Joe was a really good father. He loved his son very much.

    "We are sad for Gino and hope he always remembers the playful side of his father and the love those two shared."

    Family and friends are heartbroken, Morciglio said. "He has many people who will miss him dearly."

    Pirri had provided police with a description of his assailant, saying he was a black man, 30 to 40 years old, wearing a gray vest and jeans, authorities said.

    His attacker was driving what is believed to be a Ford F250/350 with a crew cab and a white-over-tan paint job, according to police. The vehicle, which was equipped with a bed-mounted toolbox, may be a King Ranch model.

    Truck photo.jpgAuthorities are looking for a vehicle similar to the one shown in this stock photo in connection with the crime. (Gloucester County Prosecutor's Office)

    Pirri was driving a red Nissan Versa.

    Following the assault, the suspect continued driving "in an aggressive manner" south on Tanyard Road, turned right on Barnsboro Road, then turned left on Woodbury-Glassboro Road and headed south to Route 47. He traveled through Glassboro and into Clayton, authorities said.

    Anyone with information about this incident is asked to contact GCPO Detective Warren Rivell at 609-685-7396 or Deptford Township Police Detective Rory Tipping at 856-462-1334.

    Pirri's family is hopeful that tips will lead to an arrest.

    "We would all like to see justice," Morciglio said. "We are praying that they bring the man responsible for this into custody. That fact the he's still roaming the streets is worrisome."

    Matt Gray may be reached at Follow him on Twitter @MattGraySJT. Find the South Jersey Times on FacebookHave a tip? Tell us:


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    Dogs and cats throughout New Jersey await adoption.

    Here is this week's collection of some of the dogs and cats in need of adoption in New Jersey.

    We are now accepting dogs and cats to appear in the gallery from nonprofit shelters and rescues throughout New Jersey.

    If a group wishes to participate in this weekly gallery on, please contact Greg Hatala at or call 973-836-4922.

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    Find out who landed on 1st, 2nd and 3rd Team All-State.

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    Find out who landed on 1st, 2nd and 3rd Team All-State.

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    The diocese says the turmoil to the cemetery happened shortly after a recent nor'easter.

    One after another, alone and in pairs, people continued to make their way to the front of the New Saint Mary's Cemetery in Bellmawr early Monday afternoon to peer at a row of gravesites with flat marker stones and freshly-tilled, light-brown dirt.

    The markers were from loved ones buried in 1991, 1997 and earlier, but still appeared to be freshly dug graves.

    The images many of the graveyard visitors had seen on Facebook hours earlier were far more shocking.

    Mud churned tire tracks filled with water, a gravestone perched off-kilter vertically in the ground. Other images showed gravemarkers strewn haphazardly about mud-filled tire tracks leading to the black, wrought-iron fence along W. Browning Road.

    cemeteryThe disturbed headstones were seen when Joe O'Hanlon visited his father's grave on March 4. (Photo provided by Joe O'Hanlon)

    "This is disgusting," said Barbara Yoder, of Somerdale, as she surveyed the graveyard and took peeks at her Facebook page on her phone.

    "This is a disgrace," said Carol Kessler, who stood nearby. "My parents are here, my grandparents are here, my nephew is here, several friends are here."

    The cemetery is owned by the Diocese of Camden. A spokesman said the damage was caused earlier this month during a nor'easter storm.

    "The ground around the burial plot gave way during the process of making ready a grave," said Michael Walsh, a diocesan spokesman said. "A vault had been installed in the grave, but soon after, the ground caved in and heavy lifting machinery had to be brought in to remove the vault and remake the gravesite before a burial could take place. In that process other nearby gravesites were disturbed, both by the loose soil and weather, as well as by activity related to post cave-in vault removal."

    Walsh said the damage occurred around a storm that started on March 2. He said the gravesites were repaired by March 5.

    The photos of the damaged grave sites were shared the same day the repairs were made. But when the photos were shared over the weekend, comments appeared to have accelerated interests in the incident. 

    Still, some visitors to the graveyard Monday remained upset.

    "This is appalling," said Jennifer Stewart, who said her fiance has family members buried in New Saint Mary's.

    Yoder said the weather should not be an excuse for the condition of the cemetery.

    "This is not the first time it rained," she said. "We were out here after [Hurricane] Sandy and it didn't look this bad."

    Walsh said the diocese is aware of the criticism on social media and among the families with loved ones buried here.

    "The cleanup of these issues unfortunately further added to the disarray of the graves in questions," Wash said in an email. "The grounds crew spent the following days fixing the affected gravesites and all was put back together by March 5. At this point, the cemetery is just waiting for warmer weather so that they can plant grass seed to fully return the gravesites back to their pre-storm beauty."

    The 49-acre cemetery was established in 1923. It sits in the shadow of a brick, sound-barrier wall for the busy Interstate 676, 295 highway exchange.

    The Colonial-era Hugg-Harrison House was demolished last year by the state Department of Transportation as part of the Direct Connect highway project. The action was widely criticized as skirting regulation and ignoring the historic significance of the site.

    The cemetery administration building was located in the Hugg-Harrison House until the DOT proposed constructing a new building for the cemetery administration staff, according to a published report.

    Bill Duhart may be reached at Follow him on Twitter @bduhart. Find on Facebook. Have a tip? Tell us.

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    Joe Pirri was slashed during a road rage assault in Deptford Township and later died of his injuries. His killer remains at large. Watch video

    Sitting on a couch in the living room of her Blackwood home, Megan Pirri tearfully recalled the last conversation she had with her husband.

    Joe Pirri was preparing to head home from work and wanted his wife to know he might be a little later than usual. It was March 7 and a nor'easter was dumping snow across the region, making for a slow commute.

    "Just take your time and be careful," she told him. They ended their conversation with their traditional "I love you."

    Joe Pirri never made it home that night.

    SEE PHOTOS of the Pirri family

    Pirri, 32, was slashed in the face during a road rage assault in Deptford Township that afternoon. He died of his injuries a week later.

    "He just wanted to come home and he didn't make it home," his wife said, her voice cracking with grief.

    Pirri was able to speak to emergency responders and gave them his wife's phone number. By the time his family arrived at the hospital, they couldn't speak with him, explained Megan Pirri's mother, Betty Jean Hampton.

    "He was comatose," she said. "He never came to."

    His injury was covered by the time they saw him. "It went from one side of his nose to the other side of his face," Hampton said. "We don't know what happened. We just know a very good man was taken from all of us."

    He remained on life support until March 15.

    Pirri was an organ donor and "he saved some lives," she said, praising the doctors and nurses who cared for him at Cooper University Hospital.

    Megan Pirri and her mother spoke Monday about the impact Joe made on their lives.

    Megan and Joe attended high school together but weren't really close at the time. They reconnected at their 10-year high school reunion and have been together for three years, she said. They married last May.

    "He reconnected with Megan at a time when she needed something in her life," Hampton said.

    Joe was a dedicated Eagles fan who loved playing games with his kids and spending time with his family.

    In addition to Megan, he leaves behind a son, 4-year-old Gino, and a 9-year-old stepdaughter, Alyssa, who is Megan's daughter.

    "I've never seen someone so devoted to his children," Hampton said. "He would do anything for his family and for other people."

    That included a homeless man who once lived in the woods across from the Pirri home. When Joe saw the man in a nearby dollar store, he would always pay for the man's items, Hampton said.

    Last Thanksgiving, Joe fixed a plate of food for their homeless neighbor.

    "He walked across the street and brought him dinner and dessert," Hampton said. "That's the type of man Joe was."

    He was that kind of man even on the day he was attacked.

    While driving was tough that day, as road conditions worsened, he told his family he had stopped on his way back to work with his delivery truck to help a stranded motorist.

    Hampton called Joe "a good man who came face to face with evil that day."

    "It's been devastating and heartbreaking for all of us," she said.

    His attacker, described as a black man, 30 to 40 years old, wearing a gray vest and jeans, was driving what is believed to have a Ford F250/350 with a crew cab and a white-over-tan paint job, according to police. The vehicle, which was equipped with a bed-mounted toolbox, may be a King Ranch model.

    Following the assault, the suspect drove off "in an aggressive manner" south on Tanyard Road, turned right on Barnsboro Road, then turned left on Woodbury-Glassboro Road before heading south to Route 47. He traveled through Glassboro and into Clayton, authorities said.

    Investigators are looking for witnesses and security camera footage that might help them track down the killer. Pirri was attacked around 4:20 p.m. on Tanyard Road near Mail Avenue.

    Anyone with information about the assault is asked to contact GCPO Detective Warren Rivell at 609-685-7396 or Deptford Township Police Detective Rory Tipping at 856-462-1334.

    Funeral services for Pirri are Saturday. A GoFundMe campaign launched to help the Pirri family had raised nearly $8,000 as of Monday.

    As she prepares for his funeral, Megan is cherishing her memories of the man who changed her life.

    "He used to always sing to me," she said. "He would just do goofy stuff to make me laugh when I was having a bad day. He always told me he would never leave me."

    Matt Gray may be reached at Follow him on Twitter @MattGraySJT. Find the South Jersey Times on FacebookHave a tip? Tell us:


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