Police arrest suspect in Monmouth Park murder

Former track worker accused in stabbing death of barn worker

By carolyn o

By carolyn o’connell
Staff Writer

OCEANPORT — It did not take long for investigators to apprehend a man they believe is responsible for the murder of a Monmouth Park Racetrack employee.

Lawrence Rainey, 46, with a last known address at the Monmouth Park Racetrack, was charged on Aug. 28 with one count of murder, felony murder, robbery, possession of a knife for an unlawful purpose and unlawful possession of a weapon.

The victim of the assault, Antonio Figueroa, 32, a barn worker at the track, was stabbed six times between the hours of 1:30 a.m. and 2 a.m. on Aug. 28, according to Kenneth W. Keller, Monmouth County deputy first assistant prosecutor.

"One wound which penetrated his heart was the cause of death," said Keller.

Figueroa also sustained stab wounds to his leg and arm, with the remaining wounds in the torso area.

According to Keller, the investigation is pointing to a motive of robbery, based on information from a witness who reportedly saw the commotion outside the dorm at the backstretch of the track.

"Rainey, who was not employed at the track at the time, was seen arriving at a female track employee’s room," said Keller.

Authorities said that Figueroa was robbed of money and four small individually wrapped crack cocaine rocks.

The exact amount of money is not known, but the amount was not a large sum of money, said Keller.

Investigators found a pool of blood and the murder weapon outside Figueroa’s dorm room where he was stabbed.

"It appears that he [Figueroa] dragged himself up and moved to the other end of the dorm, where he fell," said Keller.

The murder weapon is described as a fixed-blade knife resembling a steak knife, but thicker.

An interview with the female revealed a pair of nylon running pants which are believed to have been worn by Rainey, stuffed inside a reclining chair, which she turned over to police along with money.

"The money and pants had blood on them as well as the door handle to the room," said Keller.

Investigators still need to ascertain that the blood belongs to Figueroa through DNA testing.

Rainey was transported to the Monmouth County Correctional Institution, Freehold Township, and held on $1.25 million bail.

The murder is being investigated by the Monmouth County Prosecutor’s Office, the New Jersey State Police and the Oceanport Borough Police.