Irvington man convicted of felony murder

Carlos McLean

NEWARK, NJ — Acting Essex County Prosecutor Theodore N. Stephens II announced Dec. 19 that an Essex County jury has convicted Carlos McLean, 28, of Irvington, of felony murder and robbery for the fatal shooting of Jonathan Vargas Matildes, 27, a Mexican immigrant.

The fatal shooting occurred Aug. 22, 2015. Matildes was outside the Santa Fe Pizzeria and Deli at 1428 Springfield Ave. in Irvington. At approximately 3:07 a.m., McLean — and two co-conspirators who were not tried — were driving around the block. McLean and the co-conspirators exited the car and approached Matildes and another victim with guns. McLean held the other victim at gunpoint and demanded money. Matildes and one of the co-conspirators struggled. As Matildes attempted to flee, he was shot in the back.

Assistant Prosecutor Purva Deshpande, who tried the case with Assistant Prosecutor Jeff Conrad, argued at trial that McLean shot and killed Matildes. The defendant gave a statement admitting being at the scene but stated it was one of the co-conspirators who actually killed the victim.

An Essex County jury convicted McLean of the robbery of the second victim but acquitted him of the robbery of Matildes as well as the murder count; however, the jury found him guilty of felony murder.

Sentencing is scheduled for Feb. 1. The defendant is facing life in prison.