On February 24, 2001, Victor Pachas went to a social club in Paterson, New Jersey with his friend Alejandro Fernandez. As he did often in the evenings, Pachas was dressed as a woman and wore a wig, makeup, jewelry, brown skirt, brown blouse and high heals. Pachas normally dressed as a man during the daytime. Pachas and Fernandez consumed two to three pitchers of beer along with two other friends. Fernandez dropped Pachas off at his apartment between 3:10 and 3:30 a.m. on the morning of February 25, 2001. Fernandez advised Pachas not to go out because there was “crack heads and crazy people” on the streets. He did this because Pachas would solicit strangers and bring them back to his apartment. After Fernandez left, Pachas drove to Slater Street, which is a known homosexual pick-up area.
Rafael Leureyro, who also lives in the building, testified that he heard loud noises and described the noise as wheels rolling. Leureyro also heard a woman crying for help. He called the police and fell asleep. That morning, Leureyro called Pachas. After receiving no answer, he contacted the apartment owner. He also went to Pachas’s apartment and entered after realizing that the door was unlocked. He saw blood. His friend Ivan called the police.
Paterson Police Officer Buchanan testified that he found Pachas’s body and a knife blade. Buchanan observed that: the bedroom walls, ceiling and door jambs were covered in blood; the bed and sheets were soaked with blood; and the kitchen floor and carpet were covered in bloody footprints. The medical examiner testified that that the neck injuries sustained by Pachas were consistent with strangulation and opined that the cause of death was “asphyxia due to strangulation and blunt and sharp force injuries of his head and chest.”
Several weeks later, Carlos Camacho’s sister, Maleni, informed Paterson Police Detective Colon that he had been involved in a murder and was in Puerto Rico, but wanted to return. Colon traveled to Puerto Rico and arrested Camacho, who agreed to provide a formal handwritten statement about Pachas’s death. According to the statement, in the early morning hours of February 25, 2001, Camacho visited his friend Ramon Rivera, nicknamed “Cito,” at his house on Slater Street. Camacho left Cito’s house and on his way home, he was called by Pachas, who was dressed as a female and parked on the street. Pachas offered him $20 to have sex.
Camacho got into Pachas’s vehicle and asked to be driven to a place to purchase a “bag of marijuana.” After entering the apartment, Pachas went into the bathroom. When he walked out of the bathroom, he exposed his genitals to Camacho. Camacho became angry and began to dress himself. Camacho had a knife in his jacket which was visible. He believed that Pachas was going to grab the knife and use it against him.
According to Camacho, Pachas said “you came prepared.” Camacho grabbed the knife, punched Pachas and then stabbed him once in the back. The blade broke and Camacho removed the bare blade. The two struggled in Pachas’s bedroom. Camacho punched and stabbed Pachas several times in the face. Camacho stepped on Pachas’s throat to “shut him up.” Pachas was still breathing when Camacho left the apartment.
Camacho is serving a life sentence for murder.