Teen accused of killing ex-girlfriend appears in court

April 8, 2008 5:57:52 PM PDT
A Staten Island teenager, who is accused of killing his ex-girlfriend and dumping the body, appeared in court in Burlington County.

During a brief appearance via video from jail this afternoon while family members sat in the courtroom, 19 year-old Thomas Paolino stood quietly as he was read the details of the murder charges against him.

Authorities say they believe Paolino killed 19 year-old Jessica Tush of Staten Island, and then left her body in a shallow grave in the New Jersey Pine Barrens.

The victim's mother reported her daughter missing last week after she didn't return home from her job.

Investigators say indications are that the two teenagers recently broke off a relationship.

Paolino, of Staten Island, is being held in New Jersey on $1 million bail.

Back on April 3rd, New Jersey State Police responded to a 9-1-1 call from hikers who reported that a suspicious vehicle had just left the area where they were walking and that soon after they had discovered a makeshift memorial in the area where the vehicle had driven from.

New Jersey State Police Troopers responded to the scene and the victim was discovered and pronounced dead at the scene.

The results of the autopsy performed by Burlington County Medical Examiner concluded the victim died as a result of strangulation.