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Smith Maintains Not Guilty Plea to Murder Charges

Former Hasbrouck Heights police officer charged with the murder of his longtime friend maintains his not guilty plea during a second court appearance Monday.

, an ex-Hasbrouck Heights police officer, pleaded not guilty Monday to a 10-count indictment charging him in the December 2011 death of his long time friend , a Heights-native who lived in Wood-Ridge.

Smith, 33, appeared before Judge Liliana S. DeAvila-Silebi in court Monday morning. It was his second court appearance since being charged last December. A county grand jury indicted Smith on charges including murder, weapons possession and hindering.

Smith is accused with stabbing Amendola at his Wood-Ridge home during an argument, which prosecutors allege, was over drugs or money. A knife believed to be the murder weapon was found by investigators searching the homes of Smith and his girlfriend, according to the county prosecutor’s office.

Outside the courtroom, attorney Robert Stahl said Smith maintains his not guilty plea.

“We look forward to a trial where we will present our evidence,” Stahl said.

Smith is scheduled to return to court on Dec. 3, but a trial may not begin for some time, said Steven Wukovits another attorney for Smith.

As the plea was entered and charges were read, Smith stood beside Stahl and Wukovits, his eyes affixed straight ahead. He did not speak during the hearing.

Smith continues to be held at Bergen County Jail on $2 million bail.

Smith joined the Hasbrouck in 2000 and left in 2008, state employment records show. He was arrested in January 2010 on forgery, stolen property and obtaining drugs by fraud charges, records show.

The Hasbrouck Heights police chief filed disciplinary charges against Smith for a series of alleged misdeeds, including filing a false report and failure to respond to calls, Northjersey.com reported.

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Eleanor Megan Cucchiara-Taras September 11, 2012 at 10:24 PM
i hope you get death row, and rot til the death penalty comes back into effect. You took the life of a hard working CLEAN man who was wonderful.i hate you with all my being. you took a son away from his family , and so BRUTALLY. YOU FOOL NO ONE YOU JUNKIE PIG, YOU WANTED MONEY FOR YOUR DRUGS AND YA KNEW JOHN HAD MONEY AND WHEN HE SAID NO, YOU STABBED HIM NUMEROUS TIMES. I HATE YOU YOU JUNKIE SOB. ...and if WE dont get you locked down for life w/o parole, GOD WILL MAKE SURE YOU BURN IN HELL, WHERE YOU BELONG, GET THAT SMIRK OFF YOUR UGLY FACE, YOUR MARKED YOU PIG --ELEANOR
Eleanor Megan Cucchiara-Taras September 12, 2012 at 01:12 AM
Sister you make me sick, go visit your step brother in his orange jumpsuit, and get used to it, he's a KILLER. BTW, I am well educated, i can see how educated you are just by your response, nice spelling and typing skills. Screw your step Brother, He killed one of the most beautiful man,Son, twin brother,other brothers, neices & nephews, cousins in this world. Your step brother was a junkie is a junkie and always be an addict. Ever see his rap sheet? He's a thief, a forger, wrote illegal prescriptions for drugs, and on and on,....he's just a PUKE "ALLEGED" MURDERER!!! Your step brother just wanted John to give him $$$$$ Money, so he could go get his drugs b/c he was withdrawing and when you're like that, YOU WILL DO ANYTHING TO GET IT. So, he cared so much for John, that when he said NO, your step brother took a knife to John's body viciously, hid the murder weapon at his GF's place,which the Police found with John's BLOOD ON IT. SO GET A REALITY CHECK, Your step brother is a PUKE, and belongs on death row with the rest of them WITHOUT PAROLE, HE IS A DANGER TO SOCIETY AND IN THE MANNER IN WHICH HE KILLED JOHN, HE SHOULD NEVER EVER BE LET OUT INTO SOCIETY AGAIN. i HOPE HIS CHARGES ARE ALL DECLARED GUILTY AND EACH CHARGE'S SENTENCE WILL RUN CONCURRENT AND KEEP HIM IN JAIL FOREVER,hopefully the death penalty will be brought back to put an end to these killers instead of them gettin 3 hots and a cot. I HOPE THEY FRY HIM!! So do all the other people who knew JOHN AMENDOLA-Eleanor
Eleanor Megan Cucchiara-Taras September 12, 2012 at 02:52 AM
Hi Eleanor Megan Cucchiara-Taras, Nicole o'donnell commented on Smith Maintains Not Guilty Plea to Murder Charges, which you are following. "U r not such a good person to slander another himan being and wish death upon someone. U do not know all the facts and bu ur post u are mot very educated. That is my step brother u are wishing death upon. No one should judge until they are fully educated on rhe facts. Please watch your tounge and leave my family alone without ur slander." To respond view the comment on Patch.
Dan De Lorenzo January 31, 2013 at 06:43 PM
Sad that it is taking this long to get the P.O.S. to trial. I hope he gets ass-raped and killed in prison!
TheTruthIsOutThere February 04, 2013 at 03:54 PM
Sister, Most of us who knew sweet John and his supposed "friend" (I use that term loosely) know EXACTLY what the deal was with these two and their deteriorating friendship due to the DEMONS that are swept under the rug in these two towns. Nevertheless, because it's under wraps until it all comes out in court, the PUBLIC wont know until it's over. Lest you forget, he lived in a town that knew very well the kind of NEPOTISM that is RAMPANT in the police department, the same that is rampant in the government. He was "grandfathered" in. Not to mention how many get out of jail free cards he received..which are easily accessible to us if you do your research. I cannot wait for this to be over and made PUBLIC RECORD. :) Those of us who knew both of them will be vindicated, make no mistakes. I won't slander, but, what will come out will probably surprise even you. I hope you're ready. We are. RIP John. While I'm at it... RIP Joseph Fackelman, and Julian Pietras. One day your deaths will not be for naught. These towns will get a wake up call when people will start connecting the dots, and looking into how such young lives were destroyed and your deaths will save others.
Marie April 02, 2013 at 06:43 PM
Has there been any updates as to when this will go to trial?
Marie April 02, 2013 at 06:48 PM
How did Joseph Fackelman, and Julian Pietras pass away? I hope it isn't related to this psycho?
Jane Doe April 12, 2013 at 04:40 PM
As far as I know there is no exact trial date yet. (im a family friend and grew up with john and his brothers).To Scotts sister & your family, honestly your brother wore a knife on his waste band everyday (i saw it with my own eyes) and then used that knife to violently kill John because John wouldnt give him what he wanted so to say its slander it really isnt, your brother took the life of a our friend, a son, brother, nephew, uncle, and cousin. John's death still haunts me everyday & it has been over a year since he has passed. I knew Scott as well, he was & is a VERY troubled man. He had a horrible addiction to opiates and spent every penny he had on drugs. Did i mention HORRIBLE DRUG ADDICTION to the point where he was crying like a child in my driveway begging my husband for money to buy dog food so he could feed his dog. Scott is a very quiet guy and never really said much & that made this whole situation even more scarey to me. At one point Scott stood next to me behind the yellow tape at the crime scene knowing how devestated we all were, meanwhile he is the one who took our dear friends life with his own hands. THAT IS CRAZY. 2 familes lost a son that day and sorry to the Smith family but your brother/son/etc. does NOT deserve to ever see the light of day again. I will make sure of that, i will be at every parol hearing to remind the parol board that this is man who can NEVER be integrated with society again. Unless youd like to be resonsible for another tragedy..

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