Robert Zarinsky

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Robert Zarinsky
Robert Zarinsky.jpg
1975 mugshot
Born(1940-09-02)September 2, 1940
DiedNovember 28, 2008(2008-11-28) (aged 68)
Cause of deathPulmonary fibrosis
Criminal penaltyLife imprisonment
Victims2 to 10
Span of crimes
1958 (?) – 1974
CountryUnited States
State(s)New Jersey
Date apprehended
February 22, 1975

Robert Zarinsky (September 2, 1940 – November 28, 2008) was a convicted murderer and suspected serial killer from Linden, New Jersey.[1][2]

Criminal record[edit]

After a series of lesser crimes and numerous stays in psychiatric institutions:[3]

Zarinsky repeatedly boasted that he could solve up to ten homicides, hoping to parlay the information into a more-lenient prison sentence.[2][7]

Calandriello murder[edit]

Rosemary Calandriello was a 17-year-old girl from Atlantic Highlands, New Jersey, who disappeared on August 25, 1969. Her body was never found, but Zarinsky was convicted in 1975 of murdering her. He was sentenced to life imprisonment for this crime, upheld on appeal.[8] He was the first person in New Jersey ever to be convicted of murder without the victim's body having been found.[9]

In 1988, Zarinsky claimed that he had accidentally killed Rosemary and buried her body in northwest New Jersey. He later claimed that he had thrown her body into the Atlantic Ocean.[3]

Bernoskie murder[edit]

In 2001, Zarinsky was tried and acquitted of the November 28, 1958, murder of Rahway police officer Charles Bernoskie.

Bernoskie happened upon a burglary in progress at the Miller Pontiac car dealership in Rahway. He was then shot and killed by one of the burglars, either Zarinsky or his cousin Theodore Schiffer. Although Bernoskie shot both suspects, they were able to elude capture. No one was charged with the murder until 1999.[3]

Schiffer left a fingerprint at the scene of the Miller Pontiac burglary, but it was not until 1999 that the fingerprint was matched to him. He had never been fingerprinted and therefore there was no record of his fingerprints. Schiffer pleaded guilty to burglary and served three years in prison.[3]

Schiffer was implicated as an accomplice in the burglary and murder, in testimony from Zarinsky's sister, Judith Sapsa, who was under investigation for embezzling $121,500 from a mutual fund account owned by Zarinsky. Sapsa testified at the Bernoskie murder trial that she had assisted her mother with removing bullets from Zarinsky and Schiffer on the night of the Bernoskie murder. Sapsa also testified that Zarinsky stated to her that "Teddy and I shot a cop." Despite the testimony of Schiffer and Sapsa, their credibility and motives were questioned, and Zarinsky was acquitted of the Bernoskie murder.[3]

When Zarinsky was indicted in 2000 for the murder, Bette Bernoskie, the widow of Officer Charles Bernoskie, filed a wrongful-death suit against Zarinsky in civil court. In August 2003, a jury found Zarinsky responsible for the death and awarded Bette Bernoskie $9,500,000 plus interest. In 2004, $154,000 was seized from Zarinsky's assets, and Bette Bernoskie divided this award among her legal representatives and her six children. In July 2007, a New Jersey Appellate Court reversed the decision and ordered the money returned to Zarinsky, citing his inability to put on a proper defense. Bette Bernoskie no longer had the money, and the New Jersey Patrolmen's Benevolent Association then organized efforts to repay it. It was their intention that neither Bette Bernoskie nor her children would ever give back the award money.[3]

Durrua murder[edit]

On March 11, 2008, a grand jury returned an indictment against Zarinsky for the 1968 murder of 13-year-old Jane Durrua, based on DNA evidence.[10] Durrua went missing on the evening of November 4, 1968, and her body was found the next morning in a field in Middletown, New Jersey.[11]

Klinsky murder[edit]

On February 17, 2016, the New Jersey State Police Major Crime Unit and the Monmouth County Prosecutor's Office announced that newly examined DNA evidence linked the 1965 death of Mary Agnes Klinsky to Zarinsky. Klinsky was raped and beaten to death. Her naked body was found near Telegraph Hill Park in Holmdel, New Jersey on September 16, 1965.[4][5]

Zarinsky's death[edit]

On November 28, 2008, before he could stand trial for the Durrua murder, Zarinsky died at the South Woods State Prison in Bridgeton, New Jersey, of pulmonary fibrosis, a scarring of the lung tissue that made it increasingly difficult for him to breathe.[1]

See also[edit]


  1. ^ a b Sparta, Christine (November 29, 2008). "Suspected Linden serial killer Zarinsky dead in prison at 68". Courier News. Archived from the original on July 19, 2011. Cite uses deprecated parameter |deadurl= (help)CS1 maint: unfit url (link)
  2. ^ a b Craven, Laura (November 30, 2008). "Suspected serial killer Robert Zarinsky dies in prison". The Star-Ledger. Retrieved February 29, 2016.
  3. ^ a b c d e f Fisher, Robin Gaby; Lucas, Judith (August 2007). "Deadly Secrets". The Star-Ledger. Retrieved June 11, 2009.
  4. ^ a b Staff (February 17, 2016). "DNA Links Suspected Serial Killer to Teen's 1965 Murder in New Jersey". WABC-TV. Retrieved February 18, 2016.
  5. ^ a b Ford, Andrew (February 17, 2016). "After 50 years, family learns serial killer murdered teen". Asbury Park Press. Retrieved March 25, 2016.
  6. ^ Feuer, Alan (August 20, 1999). "Killer's House Is Searched for Clues in Other Slayings". The New York Times. Retrieved February 27, 2016.
  7. ^ Gallo, Joseph (October 2005). "Robert Zarinsky". Crime Library. Court TV. Archived from the original on February 9, 2015. Cite uses deprecated parameter |deadurl= (help)CS1 maint: unfit url (link)
  8. ^ State of New Jersey v. Robert Zarinsky, 362 A.2d 611 (N.J. Super. 1976).
  9. ^ Good, Meaghan Elizabeth (March 10, 2011). "Rosemary K. Calandriello". The Charley Project. Retrieved February 27, 2016.
  10. ^ Craven, Laura (March 17, 2008). "Suspected serial killer Zarinsky indicted in Monmouth girl's murder". The Star-Ledger. Retrieved June 11, 2009.
  11. ^ Zurzola, Amy (May 14, 2000). "Who Killed Jane?". Asbury Park Press. Archived from the original on December 8, 2015. Cite uses deprecated parameter |deadurl= (help)CS1 maint: unfit url (link)