Source: Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) State Crime News
TRENTON, N.J. – An Ocean County, New Jersey, man today admitted committing a series of violent assaults on members of the Orthodox Jewish community in and around Lakewood, New Jersey, U.S. Attorney Philip R. Sellinger for the District of New Jersey and Assistant Attorney General Kristen Clarke of the Justice Department’s Civil Rights Division announced.
Dion Marsh, 29, of Manchester, New Jersey, pleaded guilty before U.S. District Judge Zahid N. Quraishi in Trenton federal court to an information charging him with five counts of violating the federal Matthew Shepard and James Byrd Jr. Hate Crimes Prevention Act and one count of carjacking. Marsh is charged with willfully causing bodily injury to five victims, and attempting to kill and cause injuries with dangerous weapons to four of them, because they were Jewish.
“This defendant is being held accountable for his series of depraved, antisemitic assaults against members of the Orthodox Jewish community,” Assistant Attorney General Clarke said. “Hate-filled acts of violence, intended to harm, intimidate and isolate communities, have no place in our society. The Justice Department will continue to aggressively prosecute perpetrators of antisemitic violence across our country.”
“We have said time and again as we investigate a significant rise in hate crimes, hating someone isn’t a crime, but hating someone and then attacking them based on that hate is a violation of federal law,” FBI – Newark Special Agent in Charge James E. Dennehy said. “Marsh admits he targeted five innocent people in 2022 because they were Orthodox Jews. Personal beliefs don’t give someone the right to attack and attempt to kill another human being because they may not ascribe to a similar religion or way of life. We have a clear message for the communities we serve in New Jersey, if you are a victim of a hate crime or have information the FBI and our law enforcement partners should know, please report it. Silence won’t solve it, and we can’t help if we don’t know about it. You can go to tips.fbi.gov or call 1-800-CALL-FBI.”
According to documents filed in this case and statements made in court:
On April 8, 2022, Marsh carried out a series of violent assaults on members of the Orthodox Jewish Community in and around Lakewood. Each of Marsh’s victims were attired in traditional garments worn by members of the Orthodox Jewish community and were assaulted because they were visibly identifiable Orthodox Jews.
At 1:18 p.m. on April 8, 2022, Marsh forced a visibly identifiable Orthodox Jewish man out of his car in Lakewood, assaulting and injuring him. Marsh took control of the man’s car and drove away.
At 5:20 p.m., Marsh was in Lakewood driving a different car when he deliberately struck another visibly identifiable Orthodox Jewish man with the vehicle, attempting to kill the victim.
At 6:06 p.m., Marsh used that second vehicle to deliberately strike another visibly identifiable Orthodox Jewish man, attempting to kill the victim and causing him to suffer several broken bones.
At 6:55 p.m., Marsh, once again driving the vehicle that he had stolen from the first victim, attempted to kill another visibly identifiable Orthodox Jewish man who was walking in Lakewood by deliberately striking him with the vehicle. Marsh got out of the vehicle and stabbed the man in the chest with a knife, causing the victim to suffer a stab wound and other injuries.
At 8:23 p.m., Marsh, still driving the vehicle that he had stolen from the first victim, used it to deliberately strike another visibly identifiable Orthodox Jewish man who was walking in nearby Jackson Township, New Jersey, attempting to kill the man and causing him to suffer several broken bones and internal injuries.
The four hate crimes violations charging Marsh with attempting to kill those victims each carry a statutory maximum term of life in prison and a $250,000 fine. The hate crime violation charging Marsh with assaulting the other victim carries a statutory maximum term of 10 years in prison and a $250,000 fine. The carjacking charge carries a statutory maximum term of 15 years in prison and a $250,000 fine. Marsh is scheduled to be sentenced on June 11, 2024.
U.S. Attorney Sellinger credited special agents of the FBI, Newark Division, Red Bank Resident Agency, under the direction of Special Agent in Charge Dennehy in Newark; officers of the Lakewood Police Department, under the direction of Chief of Police Gregory H. Meyer; officers of the Jackson Township Police Department, under the direction of Chief of Police Matthew Kunz; officers of the Ocean County Sheriff’s Office, under the direction of Sheriff Michael G. Mastronardy; prosecutors and detectives of the Ocean County Prosecutor’s Office, under the direction of Prosecutor Bradley D. Billhimer, and officers of the New Jersey State Police, under the direction of Superintendent Col. Patrick J. Callahan, with the investigation leading to the charges.
The government is represented by Assistant U.S. Attorney R. Joseph Gribko, Deputy Chief of the U.S. Attorney’s Office’s Civil Rights Division.