A Philadelphia man has been convicted of murder in the 2006 slaying of Juan Cuevas Sr., who was beaten to death during a robbery at his Washington Township home while three of his children were terrorized, authorities said Thursday.
A Gloucester County jury found John Blocker, 46, guilty of murder, aggravated manslaughter, robbery, burglary, and three counts of kidnapping in a case that shocked even veteran police officials.
Cuevas, 36, a Philadelphia native who moved his children to the presumably safer South Jersey suburbs, was attacked after returning home from his auto parts business in Northeast Philadelphia.
Blocker and three other masked men arrived at the home on Saddlebrook Way about 1 p.m. and found Cuevas’ 17-year-old son in the driveway, police said. He was bound and locked in a bathroom inside the house.
The assailants later bound and held his 19-year-old daughter and 14-year-old son. Throughout the afternoon, they terrorized the children, demanding to know where cash was kept in the house.
When Cuevas returned from work about 5 p.m., the men again demanded money they believed was in the house. When Cuevas failed to give them money, he was tortured and beaten to death.
For years, the police investigation stalled, but authorities never stopped looking for the assailants. They canvassed neighborhoods in Washington Township and Northeast Philadelphia, looking for evidence.
Gloucester County Prosecutor Charles Fiore said in a statement Thursday that multiple law enforcement agencies in Pennsylvania and New Jersey were “relentless” during the long investigation.
In 2015, nine years after the death, Blocker was arrested at his girlfriend’s home in Philadelphia. On Tuesday, the jury found Blocker guilty of charges likely to keep him in prison for life.