Man enters guilty plea to robbery and gun possession

NEWARK, NJ — Eric Gotay, 34, of Irvington, pleaded guilty on Oct. 30 to robbery and gun possession charges in exchange for a 12-year sentence in New Jersey State Prison, according to a press release from the Essex County Prosecutor’s Office.

Under the terms of the plea agreement, he must serve 85 percent of his sentence before he is eligible for parole. He also has pending federal gun charges.

According to Assistant Prosecutor Felicia Garnes, who handled the state’s case, on March 22, Gotay robbed a Newark delivery man of $468 in broad daylight. The victim was crossing South 19th Street when Gotay came up from behind and put his arm around the victim’s shoulders as if hugging him. Gotay then put a gun into the victim’s side and demanded money. 

Surveillance video captured the crime. The victim could not identify Gotay but was able to describe the gun, which was linked to a traffic stop of the defendant by Belleville police.

“The evidence amassed by Newark police, as well as the cooperation of witnesses, left Mr. Gotay with no other option but to plea,” Garnes said.

Gotay is scheduled to be sentenced on Jan. 10 by Superior Court Judge Nancy Sivilli. Gotay has two prior adult felony convictions.

The federal charges are accusations. Gotay is presumed innocent of those charges unless and until he enters a guilty plea or is found guilty beyond a reasonable doubt in a court of law.