Causing hours of havoc on roadways, running down pedestrians, a stabbing and terrorizing the community, allegedly due to anti-Semitic motivations, may result in a local man receiving a 30-year prison term on terrorism charges.
Dion Marsh, 28, of Manchester, pled guilty to a single count of terrorism before Superior Court Judge Guy P. Ryan on Wednesday for the bizarre crime spree that occurred on April 8, 2022 in Lakewood and Jackson. At the time of his sentencing on March 22, 2024, the state will be seeking a term of 30 years New Jersey state prison without the possibility of parole.
The startling events behind the guilty plea began at about 1:10 p.m., when a male victim was operating a 2011 Toyota Camry heading northbound on Arlington Avenue in Lakewood. He was approached by a male suspect on foot who attempted to open the door to the vehicle, but was able to lock the door as he saw the man getting closer. As the suspect tried to open the door, the victim accelerated and began to pull away. The suspect reached through the open window and attempted to hold on to the vehicle as it was in motion; the vehicle traveled approximately one city block before the suspect finally let go.
Just five minutes later, Lakewood police were called to the area of Martin Luther King Drive and Pine Street for a report of a carjacking. Responding officers determined that a male suspect approached a 2016 Toyota Camry, assaulted the driver, and fled the area in the vehicle.
The crime spree would be revived at about 5:20 p.m., when a male pedestrian was crossing Kimball Road at Central Avenue in Lakewood in the southern direction, at which point a dark-colored sedan struck him from the right side, causing minor injuries. The vehicle then fled the scene.
Five minutes after that incident, a 911 call was placed by a man in the area of Carlton Avenue and Central Avenue in Lakewood, reporting that his minor son had been approached by a black Honda Accord occupied by a driver described as a thin, black male. The caller stated that the suspect attempted to physically grab the minor victim and pull him into the vehicle, but was unsuccessful.
A short time later, at about 6 p.m., Lakewood police received a report of a pedestrian being struck by a motor vehicle in the area of Central Avenue and Carlton Avenue. Responding Officers discovered that a male victim had been struck by a dark colored vehicle. The victim was taken to Jersey Shore University Medical Center in Neptune where he was treated for his injuries and released.
Another 911 call was received at 6:55 p.m., in reference to a stabbing in the vicinity of Pine Circle Drive and Lakewood–New Egypt Road. Officers discovered a male victim with a stab wound to his chest. The victim was taken to Jersey Shore University Medical Center, where he where he was treated for his injuries and released.
The final chapter of the hours-long terror campaign came at approximately 8:20 p.m., when officers from the Jackson Township Police Department responded to a 911 call for a report of a pedestrian being struck by a motor vehicle in the area of Galassi Court. Responding officers were able to determine that the male victim had been struck by the same vehicle that was taken in the carjacking incident in Lakewood earlier in the day. The victim was taken to Jersey Shore University Medical Center where he was treated, moved to a rehabilitation facility, and eventually released.
That same night, detectives and officers from the Manchester police department arrested Marsh at his residence in there without incident.
Marsh was initially charged with numerous criminal offenses, including multiple counts of attempted murder, carjacking, attempted carjacking, attempted kidnapping, weapons offenses, and bias intimidation. Additionally, “based upon the facts and circumstances surrounding this series of incidents,” Ocean County Prosecutor Billhimer sought the approval of state Attorney General Matthew Platkin to charge Marsh with terrorism. The request was granted, and Marsh was charged with terrorism on April 14, 2022.
He has been lodged in the Ocean County Jail since the date of his arrest.
“The evidence marshaled through the course of this investigation led us to the unmistakable conclusion that these brazen, violent acts were carried out with the purpose of terrorizing the Jewish community in Lakewood and Jackson townships,” Billhimer stated. “Let no one question our resolve when it comes to fighting hatred and bigotry.”
He continued: “To those who would seek to terrorize innocent citizens in Ocean County, our message is simple and clear: we will pursue you, prosecute you, and ultimately convict you. And we will do everything within our power to send you to prison for a very long time. I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again, hate has no home in Ocean County..”
Billhimer thanked law enforcement officers for their work on the case, which “more than likely saved lives.”
Chief Trial Attorney Michael Weatherstone prosecuted the case.