Thursday, August 22, 2013

Former Voorhees Residents Sentenced in the Kidnapping and Murder of Somersdale Man

MAYS LANDING – Two former Voorhees residents, who were captured after fleeing the country, were sentenced for their involvement in the kidnapping and murder of a Somerdale man in Hammonton nearly three years ago, Acting Atlantic County Prosecutor Jim McClain announced.
This morning, Dennis Catania, 51, was sentenced to 25 years and Diana Camacho, 28, to nine years in connection with the murder of 23-year-old Ross Heimlich, who was discovered inside a burning vehicle in Hammonton on Sept. 29, 2010.

Last month, both Camacho and Catania entered into guilty plea agreements. On Wednesday, July 10, Camacho pleaded guilty to conspiracy to commit murder and agreed to testify against Catania – her co-conspirator. The next day Catania pleaded guilty to aggravated manslaughter.
A third defendant in the case, Damien M. Leo, 38, of Philadelphia, had pleaded guilty to manslaughter in May 2012 and agreed to testify against both Camacho and Catania.
At time of the murder, Heimlich had been missing from Voorhees for a day when Hammonton police and fire personnel responded to 3:18 a.m. 911 report of a car-fire on the 100 block of Linda Avenue in Hammonton. The vehicle was fully engulfed in flames. Charred human remains discovered inside the car after the fire was extinguished required weeks of forensic investigation to positively identify Heimlich.
An autopsy determined that Heimlich had been struck in the head, but was unable to determine if he was dead at the time of the car-fire.
Following the homicide, Catania and Camacho fled the United States.
A year-long collaborative investigation by the Atlantic County Prosecutor’s Office Major Crimes Unit, the Philadelphia Police Department, the Hammonton Police Department, the Voorhees Police Department, the Camden County Prosecutor’s Office, the Florida Department of Law Enforcement, the U.S. State Department and the U.S. Marshal’s Fugitive Task Force led to the criminal charges and the arrests of all three defendants.
On Aug. 11, 2011, Leo was arrested in Philadelphia and extradited to Atlantic County.
Authorities tracked Catania and Camacho, who fled to Florida, then various Caribbean nations, including the Bahamas and finally Cuba – where they were apprehended and returned to the U.S. by U.S. Marshal’s deputies and Atlantic County Prosecutor’s Office detectives on Sept. 28, 2011.
In accordance with the plea agreements, Catania received a 25 year prison sentence for aggravated manslaughter, subject to the No Early Release Act (NERA). He must serve 85-percent or 21 years and three months of the sentence before becoming eligible for parole. Camacho received a nine year prison sentence for conspiracy to commit murder, also subject to NERA. She must serve seven years and seven months before becoming eligible for parole, according to Chief Assistant Prosecutor John Maher, who represented the State in the matter.
Leo’s sentencing has been postponed until Aug. 30. In accordance with his plea agreement, he is expected to be sentenced to nine years in New Jersey State Prison.
Anyone with information involving serious crimes is asked to call the Atlantic County Prosecutor’s Office at 609-909-7800 or go to the Prosecutor’s Office Web site at and provide information by filling out the form anonymously on the Submit a Tip page. People can also call Crime Stoppers at 609-652-1234 or 1-800-658-8477 (TIPS) or visit the Crime Stoppers Website at Crime Stoppers offers cash rewards for information leading to the arrest and indictment of those who commit crimes in Atlantic County.


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