Posted on August 6, 2015

Hillsborough Man Pleads Guilty to Murder of Co-Worker, Setting Her Body on Fire

Dave Hutchinson, NJ, August 6, 2015

A township man who was indicted on charges of murdering a female co-worker and setting her body and home on fire, pleaded guilty on Wednesday before Somerset County Superior Court Judge Julie M. Marino.

Juan Jimenez-Olivera, 30, pleaded guilty to murder, aggravated arson, desecrating human remains, theft, hindering apprehension and tampering with evidence in the death of Syiatlana Dranko on April 29, 2014.

Under a plea deal, assistant prosecutor Frank Kolodzieski dismissed the charge of first-degree aggravated sexual assault and Jimenez-Olivera would serve a 30-year sentence without the possibility of parole on the murder charge.


Dranko’s sister and her husband were in court Wednesday when Jimenez-Olivera admitted that he strangled Dranko on April 29, set fire to her body and her Bloomingdale Drive townhouse to cover up the crime, stole $6,000 from her and lied to the police about his involvement in the crime before turning himself in two days later.

Jimenez-Olivera also admitted to putting a pillow case over Dranko’s face and using a lighter to start the blaze. {snip}

Jimenez-Olivera and Dranko didn’t have a sexual relationship. The pair worked together at a pizzeria, authorities have said.

Jimenez-Olivera is a citizen of Mexico and is in this country illegally, he said when asked by the judge. The judge told him he could be deported.


Juan Jimenez-Olivera and Syiatlana Dranko