Former Kentucky State Prison Sergeant Convicted of Violating Civil Rights of an Inmate and Obstruction of Justice
A New Jersey man pleaded guilty today to committing a series of bias-motivated violent assaults on members of the Orthodox Jewish community in and around Lakewood, New Jersey.
On Feb. 1, Dion Marsh, 29, of Manchester, pleaded guilty before U.S. District Judge Zahid N. Quraishi in federal court to an information charging him with five counts of violating the 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 the victims, because they are Jewish.
“This defendant is being held accountable for his series of depraved, antisemitic assaults against members of the Orthodox Jewish community,” said Assistant Attorney General Kristen Clarke of the Justice Department’s Civil Rights Division. “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.”
“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,” said U.S. Attorney Philip R. Sellinger for the District of New Jersey. “Today, he pleaded guilty to these hate crimes and a carjacking, and my office will ask the judge to impose a sentence that holds Marsh accountable for his brutal and hate filled rampage. The threat from hate-fueled violence is a sad reality across our state and our nation. That hate is not who we are. We are stronger as a people because no matter what you look like, how you worship, where you come from, or who you love, your civil rights must be respected and protected. My office has no higher priority than protecting the civil rights of our New Jersey residents.”
“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,” said Special Agent in Charge James E. Dennehy of the FBI Newark Field Office. “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 court documents 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 was attired in traditional garments worn by members of the Orthodox Jewish community and was assaulted because they were visibly identifiable as Orthodox Jews.
Specifically, at 1:18 p.m. on April 8, 2022, in Lakewood, Marsh forced a man readily identifiable by his appearance as an Orthodox Jew out of his car, 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 man identifiable by his appearance as an Orthodox Jew, attempting to kill the victim and causing him to suffer several broken bones.
At 6:55 p.m., Marsh, once again using the vehicle that he had stolen from the first victim, struck and attempted to kill another man readily identifiable as an Orthodox Jew while he 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 serious injuries.
At 8:23 p.m., Marsh, still using the vehicle that he had stolen from the first victim, deliberately struck 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.
A sentencing hearing is scheduled for June 11. Marsh faces a maximum penalty of life in prison and a $250,000 fine for each of the four hate crimes violations charging him with attempting to kill victims, a maximum sentence of 10 years in prison and a $250,000 fine for the hate crime violation charging him with assaulting the other victim and a maximum penalty of 15 years in prison and a $250,000 fine for the carjacking charge. A federal district court judge will determine any sentence after considering the U.S. Sentencing Guidelines and other statutory factors.
The FBI Newark Field Office’s Red Bank Resident Agency, Lakewood Police Department, Jackson Township Police Department, Ocean County Sheriff’s Office, Ocean County Prosecutor’s Office and New Jersey State Police investigated the case.
Assistant U.S. Attorney and Deputy Chief of the Civil Rights Division R. Joseph Gribko for the District of New Jersey prosecuted the case with assistance from the Justice Department’s Civil Rights Division.