Murdered woman’s family may sue security companies

Downtown neighbors want answers; baby still hospitalized

More than a month has passed since downtown Jersey City resident Jacqueline Reyes was stabbed to death in her apartment in the Paulus Hook Towers. Neighbors in the building are still asking how the alleged killer could have evaded security to get in, and her family’s lawyer said they may sue the security company at the building.
Martey J. Williams, 41, was formally charged in the Dec. 8 stabbing of Jacqueline Reyes, 27, in the building at 100 Montgomery St.
Bail has been set at $1 million for Williams, but Hudson County Prosecutor Edward DeFazio said Williams is at the Anne Klein Forensic Center in Trenton for further psychiatric evaluation after being judged a “danger to himself and others.”


“It’s obviously too little, too late.” – Daryl Zaslow

Investigators believe that Williams had been staying in a stairwell inside the building because he was homeless.
Reyes’ baby son, Ivan Jr., was also stabbed several times in the attack.
The family’s attorney, Daryl Zaslow, said last week that the 10-month-old boy is currently in stable but critical condition at Columbia Presbyterian Hospital in New York where he is getting special medical care due to his injuries.
Zaslow also described the husband Ivan Reyes as being in “utter shambles” from dealing with the overwhelming grief. The couple also has a 4-year-old daughter, whom Zaslow was dropping off at school when the murder occurred.
“If Mr. Reyes is not at his son’s bedside keeping vigil, he is explaining to his daughter why her mom is not there to take care of her,” Zaslow said.
Zaslow also said the family plans to file a lawsuit in the near future against Westgate Management Company, Inc. – which is the company that operates the building on behalf of the owners, Paulus Hook Community Housing – and DMS Security Services, based in Jersey City.
Zaslow said this lawsuit will address what he calls the “apathy and negligence” that led to Jacqueline Reyes’ murder.
Westgate Management did not return phone calls for comment on this story before it went to press.

A sense of security?

Zaslow said the lawsuit will address the minimal security measures that existed in the building at the time of Jacqueline Reyes’ murder.
Tenants have been vocal, especially in recent meetings with local police and elected officials. They claim that no security guards were at the desk during the day when Reyes was killed.
They also said that people other than tenants have had keys and got access into people’s apartments, and complained that there were not enough security cameras.
Zaslow said the building’s management was aware of tenants’ concerns about security in the 23-story, 308-unit low-and moderate-income building for at least two years. That was after a January 2008 incident in which tenant Gloria Correa suffered a fractured skull when an attacker hit her with an iron pipe and then dragged her to a nearby stairwell, where she bled for four hours before being discovered.
The attacker was never found.
“It was only after the death of a tenant that management is taking steps to make things better,” Zaslow said. “It’s obviously too little, too late.”
However, there have been some new security initiatives implemented in the building since last month, according to two tenants.

New measures

One tenant who has lived in the building for the past 30 years, who wanted to remain unnamed, said police have been patrolling the building “around the clock.” He said there is a security guard on duty during the morning hours. This tenant also said that she along with several other tenants changed the locks on their front doors.
Another tenant, Maria Cota-Pulowski, a five-year resident, said the security guard on duty is located closer to the front door and tenants now have to come down to the lobby to meet any visitors.
Pulowski said management is still supposed to install an intercom system so that a security guard can call up to a resident to let him or her know who is coming to visit. And Pulowski wants to see a new system of ID cards for tenants.
Ricardo Kaulessar can be reached at

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