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Son who worked as legal assistant at dad’s firm allegedly beat luxury realtor stepmom to death with baseball bat in family townhouse

John Daniels Jr., Irma Daniels

John Daniels Jr. (Bergen County Jail mugshot), Irma Daniels (image from her Facebook)

A 30-year-old man who in recent years worked as a legal assistant at his father’s law firm stands accused of beating his stepmom to death with a baseball bat in the family’s townhouse and fleeing the scene.

Bergen County Prosecutor Mark Musella said authorities were called Wednesday evening to a townhome on Stonegate Trail in Cresskill, where John Arthur Daniels Jr. allegedly committed the murder.

“At approximately 6:46 p.m., Cresskill police responded to a 911 call and found the victim deceased of apparent blunt force trauma,” authorities said, later identifying the victim as 48-year-old Irma Daniels and specifying that she had been beaten with bat. The victim was pronounced dead at the scene, authorities said.

The Daily Voice reported that the defendant graduated from Bergen Catholic High School in 2011, the same year Irma Daniels married John Daniels Sr., a 63-year-old prominent New Jersey lawyer serving as managing partner at his family’s nearly century-old law firm — Daniels & Daniels.

“Daniels and DANIELS since 1930 has always been a law firm dedicated to the service of the clients needs. Personalized service and attention in conjunction with passion and determination is what sets us support [sic] from large law firm’s,” the firm website says. “The firm focuses upon civil litigation, corporate law, personal injury law, and estate and trust law.”

John Daniels Sr. was admitted to the bar in 1992.

John Daniels Jr.

John Daniels Jr. via LinkedIn

A Seton Hall undergrad in Diplomacy and International Relations with an MBA from Boston College, John Daniels Jr. worked as a legal assistant at the firm for two years, from 2018 to 2020, his LinkedIn page shows.

Years later, the younger Daniels is accused of first-degree murder, hindering apprehension by suppression, hindering apprehension by providing false information, and weapons charges.

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Irma Daniels, who reportedly emigrated from Moscow, Russia, to the U.S. over a decade ago, worked as a realtor associate focusing on luxury properties.

“Our homes are among our most important financial investments. Moreover, our homes so frequently evoke personal memories of cherished family experiences that the impending purchase or sale of a home becomes an especially strenuous endeavor. It causes me to approach my task with special sensitivity, concern and professional competence,” reads a quote from Daniels on her Sotheby’s International Realty page. “This level of real estate deserves exemplary service from finding what you are looking for in a home, to marketing your home to the most appropriate audience resulting in an expedient sale. A successful and seamless experience for my clients where all parties benefit is my ultimate reward.”

As recently as March, the ascendant realtor posted on Facebook about a professional breakthrough due to her work with Sotheby’s.

“I finally did it… After 7 years in real estate industry I finally received this distinguished award ‘CIRCLE OF EXCELLENCE’ from NJ Board of Realtors for my accomplishments in real estate in 2022,” she wrote. “Looking back to the beginning of this new journey for me I will never forget how hard it was the first two years with no deals, no clients, no guidance or support from the company where I started. I was ready to give up. It was a long way to get where I am now. Everything came to me through perseverance, work ethic, failures, creative mind and most importantly my mindset that I am not a quitter. ”

“I am very happy to share my success with my clients, friends and family. Thank you for your trust. It means everything to me,” she added.

Tragically, Irma Daniels was killed in a townhome that was much like the properties she was accustomed to selling.

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Matt Naham is the Senior A.M. Editor of Law&Crime.