State PBA helps officer's widow keep her home

With the help of the public and the state PBA, the widow of a slain Rahway police officer will keep her home.

In 1958, Charles Bernoskie was shot and killed in the line of duty. He left behind his wife Elizabeth and six children. The case went 41 years without any charges, but in 1999, Robert Zarinsky was arrested for Bernoskie?s murder. In 2001, Zarinsky was acquitted.

Two years after his acquittal, Elizabeth collected $150,000 from a civil jury in a wrongful death lawsuit against Zarinsky. The widow used that money on home repairs and for her children.

This past summer, an appellate court overturned the verdict and ordered Elizabeth to give the money back to Zarinsky. She feared she would have to sell her only asset, the home she bought with her husband in 1951. However, public outrage over the incident turned into the creation of the Bernoskie Justice Fund, which has raised more than $41,000. Then, on Thursday, the state PBA announced it would cover the rest of the money Elizabeth must pay back.

Zarinsky, who is serving a life sentence for the murder of a teenage girl 38 years ago, is also asking for interest and legal fees. A hearing on the issue of payment is scheduled for sometime in October.

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