A 31-year-old Flemington man has been convicted of first-degree murder and bias intimidation in the brutal killing of a 50-year-old man he had been helping to move.

Samuel C. Coggins would face a mandatory sentence of life in prison, without parole, when sentenced in November, according to Somerset County Prosecutor John McDonald, stemming from the killing of Manville resident Augustine Garcia.

Somerset County (Canva) Manville murder beating death

Coggins could also face an additional term of 15 to 30 years, to be served in a maximum-security prison, McDonald said.

That was due to aggravating factors that the murder was “outrageously or wantonly vile, horrible, or inhuman in that it involved torture, depravity of mind, or an aggravated assault to the victim.”

Driveway stomping attack in Manville

On July 14, 2022, just before 3 p.m. Manville police responded to a 911 call reporting an assault outside a residence on North 12th Avenue.

Responding officers found Garcia unresponsive and suffering from a severe head injury in the driveway.

He was pronounced dead a short time later at a local hospital.

Garcia’s longtime roommate and friend, Sue Stranzenbach, previously told News 12 that “He Coggins “went into a mode of rage for no reason.”

Manville NJ
(U.S. Census, Google Maps)

Garcia was originally from Honduras and had worked as a day laborer out of Flemington, according to the same News 12 interview.

Stranzenbach says that for two days earlier, Coggins had helped them move with no incidents.

According to the prosecutor, the 911 caller identified himself as Coggins.

Coggins received a trial by jury the week of Sept. 25 — the guilty verdict was issued just over a week later on Oct. 3.

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