What to Know
- Bayonne man indicted for his role in the brutal 2017 Holmdel home invasion robbery of a former “Real Housewives of New Jersey" star
- James Mainello, 51, faces multiple charges including robbery, burglary, aggravated assault and theft, among others
- Dina Manzo appeared on the first two seasons of the reality TV show before leaving the series
A grand jury returned a seven-count indictment Monday morning charging a Bayonne man for his role in the brutal 2017 Holmdel home invasion robbery of a former “Real Housewives of New Jersey” star, according to prosecutors.
James Mainello, 51, is charged with robbery, burglary, aggravated assault, theft, possession of a weapon for an unlawful purpose and criminal restraint, Monmouth County Prosecutor Christopher J. Gramiccioni announced Monday.
Mainello was arrested in May and is being held pending trial in the Monmouth County Correctional Institution in Freehold Township, prosecutors say.
If convicted of a first degree crime, Mainello faces up to 20 years in a New Jersey state prison on each count, prosecutors say. He would also be under parole supervision for five years following his release from state prison.
If convicted of a second degree offense, Mainello faces a sentence of five to ten years in prison. A third degree convict carries a custodial sentence of three to five years in prison.
Mainello’s attorney did not immediately respond to request for comment.
However, with 36 previous criminal convictions to his name, this is hardly the first time Mainello has dealt with the justice system. He has served a 10-year prison sentence for a federal robbery conspiracy charge, and has been convicted on a slew of other charges such as burglary, robbery, theft, fencing and drugs.
Mainello’s recent indictment comes in connection to an alleged home robbery that took place on the night of May 13, 2017 at a townhouse on Banyan Boulevard in Holmdel.
According to prosecutors, after receiving a 911 call, police arrived on scene to find two victims, David Cantin, then-37, and Dina Manzo, then-45 years old who reported that after arriving home they were confronted by two men who were already inside the house.
Cantin told investigators he and Manzo had just gotten home on May 13, 2017 when one of the suspects charged at him with a baseball bat and attacked him, according to an affidavit provided by prosecutors.
Manzo told investigators one of the suspects pushed her against a wall, covered her mouth, threw her to the floor and kicked her before taking her engagement ring off her finger.
The engagement ring was valued at more than $60,000, the affidavit says.
"That’s what you get for f---ing with a guy from Paterson,” the suspect said to her, according to the affidavit.
According to prosecutors, one of the two men struck Cantin several times with a baseball bat while Manzo was punched multiple times by the other assailant. The two victims were bound together and the attackers subsequently fled the residence after stealing cash and jewelry, according to prosecutors.
Cantin was allegedly able to free himself and called police, who arrived shortly thereafter.
Along with the engagement ring, the suspects took $500 in cash, a driver’s license and a credit card from Cantin’s wallet, according to the affidavit.
Both victims were taking to the hospital. Cantin suffered significant facial injuries, including a broken nose, while Manzo was treated for facial injuries, prosecutors say.
Holmdel Police contacted the Monmouth County Prosecutor’s Office and a joint investigation was launched, culminating in charges against Mainello. A second suspect remains at-large.
Manzo appeared on the first two seasons of the reality TV show before leaving the series. She returned for the sixth season in 2014, then left again. Prior to that she tried to launch her own series about party planning called "Dina's Party" on HGTV; it was canceled after two seasons.
Cantin, a New Jersey native, blazed new trails in the car dealership industry with his financial and business acumen and became co-owner of one of the largest dealerships in the world.
He was diagnosed with leukemia several years ago and directed philanthropic energies toward battling pediatric cancer.