Press Release


For Immediate Release: April 25, 2024

Bergen County Prosecutor Mark Musella announced the conviction of DANIEL ROCHAT, 48, formerly of Wood-Ridge, NJ, for the murder of a Bergen County woman on September 14, 2012. On April 24, 2024, after a fifteen-day trial before the Honorable Christopher Kazlau, J.S.C. in Bergen County Superior Court, DANIEL ROCHAT was convicted of first-degree murder, aggravated arson, felony murder, unlawful desecration of human remains, hindering apprehension by providing false statements to the police, hindering apprehension by concealing and/or destroying evidence, and false swearing in connection with the death of Barbara Vernieri in East Rutherford, NJ. Sentencing is scheduled for June 14, 2024.

On September 14, 2012, DANIEL ROCHAT entered the victim’s home, beat the victim about the head and face, than set her body on fire while she was still alive. ROCHAT destroyed evidence at the scene and took the victim’s cell phone.

On October 3, 2012, DANIEL ROCHAT was arrested by Bergen County Prosecutor’s Office detectives. ROCHAT was initially convicted in June 2017 but the conviction was reversed in January 2022 due to some evidence testing being deemed as unreliable.

At trial, the State was represented by Assistant Prosecutors Danielle Grootenboer and David Malfitano of the Bergen County Prosecutor’s Office with the assistance of Detective Chris Pelaez and Victim Advocate Susan Tanis. The defendant was represented by Anthony Pope, Esq. and Eric Feinberg, Esq.

Prosecutor Musella thanks Assistant Prosecutors Grootenboer and Malfitano for their zealous advocacy and for helping to bring justice for the victim and her family in this prosecution. Prosecutor Musella also commends the detectives of his Major Crimes Unit as well as members of the East Rutherford Police Department, Bergen County Sheriff’s Office, and the Federal Bureau of Investigation for their skill and professionalism in investigating this matter. Additionally, Prosecutor Musella extends his sincere thanks to the many retired detectives who so nobly continue to answer the call of duty and returned to testify at trial.