New Charges Contained in an Indictment Handed Up by State Grand Jury
For Immediate Release: May 17, 2023
Office of the Attorney General
– Matthew J. Platkin, Attorney General
Division of Criminal Justice
– Pearl Minato, Director
James W. Parrillo Jr.
*Known to Go By Different Names*
If You or Someone You Know Has Information on This Man
Please Call New Jersey State Police at 855-363-6548
TRENTON–Attorney General Matthew J. Platkin today announced charges of first-degree aggravated sexual assault against a man accused of kidnapping a woman in New Mexico and holding her captive for nearly a year before she allegedly escaped from a residence in Burlington County in February. The new charges were contained in an indictment recently handed up by a state grand jury.
James W. Parrillo Jr., 57, was arrested by New Jersey State Police (NJSP) on February 7, 2023, after the woman ran from a residence in Bass River Township where the pair had been staying and fled to safety at a nearby gas station. The woman told police she had been kidnapped by Parrillo in February 2022 and held captive while the pair traveled across the country, before arriving in New Jersey in December 2022.
A short time after the alleged escape, New Jersey State Troopers located Parrillo walking on the shoulder of County Road 542 and took him into custody. He was charged with kidnapping, aggravated assault, hindering apprehension, and criminal restraint.
An 11-count indictment handed up by a grand jury on May 3rd added six charges against Parrillo: two counts of aggravated sexual assault (first degree), two counts of sexual assault (second-degree), one count of criminal coercion (second degree), and one count of theft by extortion (second degree).
The new charges are the result of further investigative work conducted by NJSP, with assistance from the Division of Criminal Justice Human Trafficking/Sexual Violence Unit and the Burlington County Prosecutor’s Office, after Parrillo’s arrest.
“The New Jersey Office of the Attorney General is committed to ensuring that survivors of violence and sexual assault are afforded the justice they deserve,” said Attorney General Platkin. “Today we are sending a clear message that individuals who come forward to report these crimes in our State will be treated with dignity and respect by members of law enforcement committed to thoroughly investigating their allegations and holding perpetrators fully accountable under the law.”
“The addition of aggravated sexual assault charges escalates the very serious nature of this case and we will continue working to ensure the defendant is prosecuted to the fullest extent of the law for his alleged crimes,” said Director Pearl Minato of the New Jersey Division of Criminal Justice.
According to information placed on the record during court proceedings and in documents filed in the case, the victim met the defendant, whom she knew as “Brett Parker,” at a gas station on Interstate 10 in New Mexico in February 2022. At his request, she agreed to give him a ride to Arizona. The woman said she was in a voluntary relationship with the defendant for about three weeks until he physically assaulted her while the two were in California, at which point she felt unable to leave the relationship. Parrillo allegedly sexually assaulted the woman on different occasions during the time she was with him and used threats of bodily injury to restrict her freedom.
Prior to her alleged escape, Parrillo and the woman had been staying in a rented room in Bass River Twp. with several other individuals for about two weeks, the longest they had stayed in one place during the alleged kidnapping. The woman told police that during a previous visit to the nearby gas station, she noticed an interior deadbolt on the door of the station’s convenience store and began planning her escape to that location. On February 7, Parrillo allegedly began beating and choking the woman during an argument inside the residence but allegedly ceased when he realized the two were not alone in the house. At that time, the woman ran from the house to the gas station wearing nothing but shorts and a shirt in the 42-degree weather.
Once inside the gas station, the woman bolted the door and told an attendant she had been kidnapped. Footage from the station’s security camera shows Parrillo following the woman to the gas station and attempting to open the door to the convenience store, then leaving when he realized it was locked. Parrillo was arrested a short time later. He is currently detained in the Burlington County Jail pending trial.
In successfully arguing for pre-trial detention, the State said information provided by the alleged victim, along with information found on social media and other online websites, indicate that Parrillo may have engaged in similar predatory conduct with individuals in other states. Members of the public with additional information about the defendant are urged to call the New Jersey State Police hotline at 855-363-6548.
Assistant Attorney General Theresa Hilton is prosecuting the case for the Division of Criminal Justice with Burlington County Assistant Prosecutor and Special Deputy Attorney General Courtney O’Brien. The investigation was led by the NJSP Troop C Criminal Investigation Office, Tuckerton Station, with assistance from the NJSP Regional Operations and Intelligence Center, Office of Forensic Sciences, and the Burlington County Prosecutor’s Office High Tech Unit.
First-degree charges carry a sentence of 10 to 20 years in prison and a fine of up to $200,000. First-degree kidnapping carries a sentence of 15 to 30 years in state prison and a fine of up to $200,000. Second-degree charges carry a sentence of five to 10 years in state prison and a fine of up to $150,000, while third-degree charges carry a sentence of three of five years in prison and a fine of up to $15,000. Defendants convicted of aggravated sexual assault or sexual assault are required to register as sex offenders.
The charges against the defendant are merely accusations, and he is presumed innocent unless and until proven guilty.
The Office of the Attorney General thanked the Burlington County Prosecutor’s Office, under the leadership of Prosecutor Lachia L. Bradshaw, for assisting in this investigation.
Defense Attorney: John Keesler, Esq.