An Orange man accused of killing Maplewood resident Arthur Downey III at his Henry Place home after meeting him in an online chat room has pleaded guilty to aggravated manslaughter and weapons offenses, the Essex County Prosecutor’s Office said on Wednesday.
Under the terms of the plea agreement, John Staten, 32, will be sentenced to 18 years. Staten will be sentenced under the No Early Release Act, which requires him to serve 85 percent of his sentence before he is eligible for parole, according to Acting Essex County Prosecutor Carolyn A. Murray.
On March 14, 2010, the two men met through a telephonic chat service. Yesterday, Staten, admitted he beat Downey, 27, with an iron just hours after they met then covered Downey’s head with a plastic bag. The cause of death was bludgeoning and asphyxiation. A roommate discovered Downey’s body the next morning.
“It is our hope that the 18-year sentence will bring some solace to Mr. Downey’s family,’’ said Assistant Prosecutor Margarita R. Rivera, who handled the guilty plea.
Staten is scheduled to be sentenced on June 19.