authorities3More than seven years after a lawyer was run over by a Jeep at the Galleria Red Bank in an attempted murder, a former client accused of masterminding the crime is about to go on trial in Freehold, the Asbury Park Press reports.

The article doesn’t say why it took so long for the case to make its way to court. But the case is littered with defendants and associates with thick back stories.

Among them is a former Newark cop turned detective who yesterday told Superior Court Judge Ira Kreizman that he wanted to invoke his Fifth Amendment right against self-incrimination when testifying, to avoid possible federal or state conspiracy charges. The judge denied the request, saying statutes of limitations had expired, the Press reports.

Attorney Peter Paras, who still has his office at the Galleria, was run over in the parking lot there on June 21, 2002. He suffered a fractured vertebrae and pelvis, broken ribs and head injuries, according to early reports.

Two men have pleaded guilty in the case, and one of them is expected to testify against Nicholas A. Lucarella, formerly of Millstone Township, a former Paras client who is accused of hiring one of the hitmen after losing a bitter child custody dispute with his now-ex wife.

Jury selection is expected to start as early as today, the Press reports.