A local man has been sentenced to a jail term as a condition of probation after pleading guilty to threatening members of Lakewood’s Orthdox Jewish community, as well as Gov. Phil Murphy, with a baseball bat attack through Facebook Messenger.
Anthony Lodespoto, 43, of Howell, was sentenced by the Superior Court Judge Guy P. Ryan on Friday to 180 days in the Ocean County Jail as a condition of eighteen months of non-custodial probation, prosecutors said in a statement. He has been lodged in the jail since his arrest in March.
On March 26, Lakewood police detectives were made aware that Lodespoto had made threatening statements by way of the direct messaging feature of Facebook against the Jewish community of Lakewood. The following day, detectives were informed by members of the New Jersey State Police that Lodespoto sent a similar message to the Facebook account of New Jersey Governor Phil Murphy. The threats largely consisted of Lodespoto threatening to travel to Lakewood with the purpose of assaulting members of the Jewish community with a baseball bat. The threatening messages were reportedly prompted by anger over social distancing violations in Lakewood in the early days of the coronavirus pandemic.
Lodespoto pleaded guilty to a charge of bias intimidation Aug. 10.