2002-01-17 / Front Page

Argument between friends leads to death of boro man John Goldsborough, 48, is charged in the death of Lawrence Csordas, 64

Staff Writer
By brian DONAHUE

Argument between friends leads to death of boro man
John Goldsborough, 48, is charged in the death of Lawrence Csordas, 64


PHOTOS BY JERRY WOLKOWITZ The house at 44 Raritan Ave., South River, where authorities allege a borough man died after being punched by his tenant.PHOTOS BY JERRY WOLKOWITZ The house at 44 Raritan Ave., South River, where authorities allege a borough man died after being punched by his tenant.

SOUTH RIVER — An alcohol-fueled argument turned deadly last week for a 64-year-old borough man who authorities said was assaulted by his tenant in the living room of their house on Raritan Avenue.

Lawrence Csordas had been drinking beer around 7 p.m. Jan. 8 with his tenant, John Goldsborough, 48, who had rented an upstairs bedroom from Csordas for three years. The two men reportedly began arguing, and Goldsborough punched Csordas two or three times, striking his stomach and an area above the eye, according to Assistant Middlesex County Prosecutor Thomas Kapsak.

Csordas did not seek medical attention after the assault and remained "functional for some time," but died the following day from internal injuries, Kapsak said. The official cause of death was bleeding due to lacerations of the spleen and the membranes around the intestines.

Goldsborough called police from a neighbor’s house to request assistance for Csordas at 3:42 p.m. Jan. 9 as he apparently became concerned about Csordas’ deteriorating condition. Police responding to the call found Csordas dead in the living room of the house, according to Kapsak.


Middlesex County Assistant Prosecutor Thomas Kapsak speaks during a press conference involving the death of a South River man.Middlesex County Assistant Prosecutor Thomas Kapsak speaks during a press conference involving the death of a South River man.

Police took Goldsborough into custody the following day at noon after medical reports showed Csordas’ cause of death. Goldsborough has been charged with aggravated manslaughter and was being held at the Middlesex County Adult Correction Center, North Brunswick, in lieu of $150,000 bail, Kapsak said.

Authorities are not releasing statements from Goldsborough about the events, but Kapsak said the two men’s argument was over "nothing terribly significant."

"It was the kind of argument you get into after you’ve drunk too much beer," the assistant prosecutor said.

Officials said they do not believe that Csordas, who weighed 150 pounds, struck back against the 245-pound Goldsborough during the incident.

"It was basically a one-way assault," Kapsak said.

The two men had been friends for many years, and Csordas, whose 87-year-old mother, Helen, also lives in the house, invited Goldsborough to rent an upstairs bedroom after learning that his friend needed a place to live. Goldsborough had been a custodian for the South River Board of Education, but was fired in January 1997 with several other custodians after they were accused of falsifying their time cards and receiving pay for time they didn’t work.

"It was shortly after that that [Csordas] took him in," said Cynthia Urbanik, a neighbor of the Csordases as well as a member of the borough’s Board of Education. "Johnny was their friend. After he had no place to go, Larry invited him in. Larry was that kind of guy."

Other neighbors on Raritan Avenue said the two men were known to hang out together, sometimes on the porch drinking beer or watching the Yankee game.

"They’re big Yankee fans," said one neighbor, who did not wish to be identified. "If I had the game on, all I had to do was turn down the volume and I could hear them listening to it."

Urbanik and her husband, Gene, said that while Goldsborough tended to keep to himself, Csordas was well-known in the neighborhood as friendly and always willing to help his neighbors. The Csordas family had lived in the Raritan Avenue home for as long as neighbors could remember.

"Larry was a nice, quiet guy," Gene Urbanik said. "He hung around town his whole life."

"He was just such a kind neighbor, always doing things for people," Cynthia Urbanik said. "It’s just a shame what happened. I almost can’t believe it."

Neighbors said Csordas, who had long ago worked in construction, generally took care of his mother, who reportedly has severe vision and hearing problems.

Goldsborough had been working recently in the meat department at Stop & Shop, Route 18 in East Brunswick.

Kapsak said Helen Csordas, who was home at the time of the assault, was being treated in the hospital for stress following last week’s events. The elderly Csordas, whose husband, William, died years ago, was unable to help investigators with details about the assault, Kapsak said. She has two other sons in addition to the victim, neighbors said.


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