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October 03, 2016

DJ Creato to stand trial for his son's murder on Jan. 9

Brendan Creato Case Date
Carroll - Creato in Court Thom Carroll/PhillyVoice

David "DJ" Creato speaks with his attorney, Richard J.Fuschino Jr., at Camden County Superior Court in Camden on Monday, Oct. 3, 2016, during a conference to schedule the start of his murder trial.

A Jan. 9 trial date for David “DJ” Creato was set by Superior Court Judge John T. Kelly on Monday morning.

The judge had originally listed Monday for the start of the trial against the South Jersey man accused of murdering his three-year-old son, Brendan Creato.

Instead, Creato, who was in court in a red jumpsuit, learned the trial will begin in the new year.

  • Meanwhile, a memorial Mass is set for 5 p.m. Dec. 15 at Holy Savior Roman Catholic Church in Westmont, a section of Haddon Township, to mark the one-year anniversary of the child's murder, his grandparents told reporters following court.

    Homicide prosecutor Christine Shah left the court without comment and a spokesperson later said the Camden County Prosecutor's Office will have nothing to say.

    Creato's lawyer, Richard J. Fuschino Jr., said the delay resulted while he waits for a report from a "forensic pathologist," whom he did not identify. He later declined to identify whose expert opinion he is seeking.

    Fuschino called the handling of the case by Medical Examiner Gerald Feigin and his office "abominable."

    Fuschino has repeatedly raised questions about the death scene investigation and three autopsies overseen by the medical examiner. 

    Outside experts have told PhillyVoice that the three autopsies and the apparent inability to narrowly define the child's cause of death is highly unusual. Feigin has listed three possible causes and termed the death "homicide of unknown etiology," a term typically used in cases of body decomposition.

    Fuschino's client has been jailed, unable to post $750,000 bail, since Feb. 8 when he entered a not guilty plea before the judge.

    DJ's father, David Creato, spoke briefly to reporters afterwards. He was accompanied by his wife, Lisa, who remained at his side but did not speak.

    "We want this over with," said the elder Creato, adding the delay was not sought "lightly." But given the gravity of the case, DJ's parents have accepted it.

    Prior to the conference before the judge, David Creato said the case is especially difficult because "we lost a three-year-old, and now our 23-year-old." 

    He also said that DJ had no reason to kill his child, given the many supportive people surrounding Brendan and DJ. He acknowledged that DJ had left Brendan in the custody of his mother, Samantha Denoto, for months when he went to California.

    "Brendan was a loving kid, loved by many. There's no rhyme or reason to this," David Creato argued.

    Creato body scene 10/2/16Kevin C. Shelly/PhillyVoice

    Brendan Creato's body was discovered nearly a year ago on these stones in a creek leading to Cooper River in Haddon Township.

    DJ Creato's son's body was found in Cooper River Park on the morning of Oct. 13, 2015, about a half-mile from the apartment they shared in Westmont, a section of Haddon Township in South Jersey.

    DJ Creato had called 911 about three hours earlier that morning, reporting his son was missing. He in fact suggested to the dispatcher that Brendan, who slept on a couch in the living room, had let himself out and wandered off.

    Shah, the prosecutor, has alleged that DJ Creato killed his son – filicide – to further a romance with his former girlfriend, Julie “Julia” Stensky. She was a 17-year-old college student in New York at the time of the homicide. Stensky, who is not charged in the case, has since joined the Air Force.

    Creato memorial 10/2/16Kevin C. Shelly//PhillyVoice

    A memorial to toddler Brendan Creato, photographed Sunday, remains almost a year after his death.

    Much of the prosecution case relies on messages, social media postings, and pictures exchanged by the pair, including the nearly 9,500 texts they exchanged in less than five months after meeting online.

    Creato, who was then 22 years old, and Stensky, still a minor at the time they dated, had visited the spot where Brendan’s body was discovered on the weekend before his son went missing.

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