Federal Hate Crimes Charged In Attack Spree On Ocean Co. Orthodox Jews

TRENTON, NJ — A Manchester man is now facing federal hate crimes charges in a spree of attacks on Orthodox Jewish men in Lakewood and Jackson earlier this month that sent two men to the hospital and sent fear through the community, federal prosecutors announced Wednesday.

Dion Marsh, 27, has been charged with four counts of violating the federal Matthew Shepard and James Byrd Jr. Hate Crimes Prevention Act and one count of carjacking, US Attorney Philip R. Sellinger said.

Sellinger said the hate crimes violations charges were filed because Marsh is charged with willfully causing bodily injury to four victims, and attempting to cause them injury with a dangerous weapon, because they were Jewish. He is charged with attempting to kill three of those victims, including one he stabbed the victim in the chest.

Marsh, who remains in the Ocean County Jail in connection with the attempted murder and terrorism charges filed by the Ocean County Prosecutor’s Office, will have an appearance in federal court; the date of that appearance has not been determined, Sellinger’s office said.

“The federal hate crime charges brought against Dion Marsh are a chilling reminder of the ugly reality that antisemitism won’t go away by ignoring or wishing it away. It must be defeated,” said Rep. Chris Smith, who co-chairs the House Bipartisan Task Force for Combating Antisemitism..

“Tragically, attacks like the one we recently witnessed are reflective of the historically high levels of hatred directed at Jews across the United States and throughout the world,” Smith said. “There must be zero tolerance at every level for hate-fueled crimes against members of the Orthodox Jewish community. “

According to the FBI, 55 percent of all religiously motivated hate crimes in 2020 were against Jews, who compute approximately only 2.4 percent of the US adult population.

The federal charges against Marsh stem from the series of attacks on April 8, Sellinger said. He included the following timeline:

At 1:18 pm on April 8, Marsh forced a visibly identifiable Orthodox Jewish man out of his car in Lakewood, assaulting and injuring him in the process. Marsh took control of the man’s car and drove away. A surveillance video in the area captured Marsh arriving in the area prior to the carjacking and assault.

At 6:06 pm, 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 and causing him to suffer several broken bones.

According to the probable cause affidavit filed by Ocean County detectives, Marsh told Lakewood police he was driving his grandmother’s car at the time.

At 6:55 pm, Marsh, once again driving the vehicle that he had stolen from the first victim, attempted to kill another visibly identifiable Orthodox Jewish man. Marsh used the stolen vehicle to deliberately strike the man, who was walking in Lakewood. 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 pm, 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.

In that attack, Marsh drove up on the sidewalk to run over the man, who was walking to the synagogue for evening prayer services, authorities and witnesses have said.

At approximately midnight, on April 9, 2022, law enforcement officers arrested Marsh at his home in Manchester, federal and local authorities said. He was initially charged with three counts each of attempted murder and bias intimidation, plus one count of carjacking, but the terrorism charge was filed Thursday.

The probable cause affidavit alleges Marsh tried to kidnap a Jewish boy in addition to the other attacks.

“Dion Marsh advised when asked why he did all the acts he committed, he stated’it had to be done’ that’these are the real devils’, and when asked to whom he was referring,’the Hasidic Jews,'” authorities said in the affidavit.

Two of the three men injured have been released from the hospital, the Ocean County Prosecutor’s Office told Patch on Thursday. The third man was in critical, but stable condition.

The three 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 The carjacking charge carries a statutory maximum term of 15 years in prison and a $ 250,000 fine.

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