Public Notices and Press Releases

NJ Man Pleads Guilty to Federal Hate Crimes, Assaults on Orthodox Jewish Community

Ocean County Man Pleads Guilty to Federal Hate Crimes in Assaults on Orthodox Jewish Community

NEW JERSEYDion Marsh, a 29-year-old resident of Manchester, New Jersey, has admitted to committing a series of violent assaults against members of the Orthodox Jewish community in Lakewood, New Jersey. His guilty plea to five counts under the federal Matthew Shepard and James Byrd Jr. Hate Crimes Prevention Act, along with a charge of carjacking, marks a significant legal resolution to a case that has drawn attention to the issue of hate crimes within the state.

Marsh's admission in Trenton federal court before U.S. District Judge Zahid N. Quraishi comes in response to charges that he willfully caused bodily injury—and in four instances, attempted to kill—victims specifically targeted for being visibly identifiable as Orthodox Jews. This series of attacks, which took place on April 8, 2022, included using a stolen car as a weapon and a stabbing, underscoring the violent and premeditated nature of Marsh's actions.

U.S. Attorney Philip R. Sellinger emphasized the gravity of the offenses, stating, "This defendant violently attacked five men, driving a car into four of them, stabbing one of them in the chest, and attempting to kill them, simply because they were visibly identifiable as Orthodox Jews.

Sellinger further highlighted the broader societal implications of hate-fueled violence and affirmed the commitment of his office to protecting the civil rights of New Jersey residents.

Assistant Attorney General Kristen Clarke of the Justice Department’s Civil Rights Division also condemned the attacks, reaffirming the federal government's dedication to prosecuting individuals who perpetrate antisemitic violence.

The investigation, which was led by the FBI's Newark Division, the Lakewood Police Department, the Jackson Township Police Department, and other local and state law enforcement agencies, was part of a concerted effort to address the rise in hate crimes. FBI – Newark Special Agent in Charge James E. Dennehy urged victims of hate crimes to report such incidents, emphasizing the importance of community cooperation in combating hate and violence.

The incidents detailed in court documents and statements reveal a targeted campaign of violence by Marsh against the Orthodox Jewish community, including carjacking and multiple assaults that resulted in serious injuries to the victims. Marsh's actions on that day led to significant physical harm and further exposed the dangerous undercurrents of hate that can pervade communities.

Marsh is scheduled to be sentenced on June 11, 2024, facing potential life imprisonment for the hate crimes involving attempted murder and additional penalties for the assault and carjacking charges. This case stands as a stark reminder of the ongoing challenge of hate crimes in society and the legal system's role in addressing and penalizing such acts of violence and intolerance.

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