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Man charged in Jersey City murder of kindergarten teacher maintains innocence in court

Cesar Santana, one of the two people charged in Luz Hernandez’s death, appeared at Hudson County Courthouse Monday morning. He is due in court again Monday, March 18.

Lanette Espy and Tony Caputo

Feb 5, 2024, 5:15 PM

Updated 138 days ago

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The man accused of murdering a 33-year-old Jersey City kindergarten teacher in 2023 maintains his innocence, according to his lawyer.
Cesar Santana, one of the two people charged in Luz Hernandez’s death, appeared at Hudson County Courthouse Monday morning. He will now have to wait 42 days until his next court appearance.
The body of Hernandez was found in a shallow grave in Kearny on Feb. 7, 2023. The autopsy revealed Hernandez was strangled and suffered blunt force head trauma. Santana was arrested three days later.
On Monday, Santana was brought into the courtroom for a disposition conference. His defense attorney Edward Bilinkas asked for 30 to 45 more days to complete the discovery process, specifically, having experts examine DNA evidence.
“Last week, we were provided with the prosecutors' DNA analysis. Again, it’s many documents with hundreds of pages to back up. I’ve been giving them to an expert to review their analysis,” Bilinkas said.
The judge granted the additional time, and there were no objections from the prosecutors.
Santana is due in court again Monday, March 18. He will remain in the Hudson County jail.
Leiner Miranda Lopez was also charged with Hernandez’s murder. He was charged with desecrating and concealing human remains. The 26-year-old remains at large.

Previous coverage on Luz Hernandez



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