The following was submitted by the office of Essex District Attorney Jonathan Blodgett:
Jonathan G. Ngarambe, 23 of 10 First Street in Salem, pleaded guilty on Wednesday to perjury and misleading a judge in connection with his involvement as a potential juror in a rape trial in March.
Judge David Lowy sentenced Ngarambe to serve two years in the House of Correction and two years of probation. He also ordered the defendant to obtain his GED, get or attempt to get a job, and perform 250 hours of community service.
Had the case gone to trial, Essex Assistant District Attorney A.J. Camelio would have proved that on March 20, 2012, Ngarambe was a potential juror in the trial of Rafael Nina Brito, Luis Arias and Justin Louf, who were charged and later convicted of aggravated rape. The prosecutor in the rape case noticed that he made eye contact with one of defendants upon entering the courtroom.
Ngarambe knew at least two of the three defendants and in fact attended Salem High School with them. The judge questioned Ngarambe if he knew any of the defendants in a variety of ways, and Ngarambe denied knowing them each time.
Camelio recommended a sentence of three to five years.
"This is a serious offense," Camelio said. "As a prosecutor, I may sometimes be disappointed in a jury's decision, but I always count on the fact that they are acting fairly and impartially."
"A trial before a fair and impartial jury is one of the fundamental principles of our democracy," District Attorney Jonathan Blodgett said. "Had this young man succeeded in getting on this jury, it would have represented a serious miscarriage of justice for the victim of a horrific rape. This sentence sends a strong message that this kind of behavior won't be tolerated."
Ngarambe was represented by attorney John Appruzzese.