50 years after NJ police slayings, gruesome killer free
The families of Sgt. Peter Voto and Probationary Officer Gary Tedesco are still haunted by the killings and the fact that one of killers was never executed
By Kim Lueddeke
LODI, N.J. — Fifty years ago Monday, two Lodi police officers responding to a routine noise complaint were brazenly slain execution style in a seamy roadhouse bar on a stretch of Route 46 that used to be called “Sin Strip.” The killings rocked Bergen County to its core, putting the lie to the notion that such violence didn’t happen here, especially against cops.
There have been other gruesome murders — before and since — but the wanton way in which the two officers were slain reverberates to this day in a singular way. The crime was an all-too-vivid occurrence of good versus evil, in the persona of the killers — two street thugs out for a whiskey- and amphetamine-fueled good time. But the resonance only begins with the sordid events of that night.
One of the accused killers would die two days later in a hail of police bullets. But the other, Thomas Trantino, would live on, his very existence a continuing source of agony for the families of the two slain officers.