Juvenile Charged with Quadruple Homicide in Long Branch, NJ

Monmouth County Teen Murder Case Garners National Attention

The Monmouth County Prosecutor’s Office has confirmed that a juvenile from Long Branch, New Jersey has been taken into custody following a shooting spree that took place New Years Eve in the City. 

A shooting spree in the City of Long Branch ends with  four deceased and one juvenile being detained on quadruple homicide charges. Very little information has been released at this point in time, do in large part to the Defendant being a juvenile. But based on the little information that has been released,  it is believed that the that the juvenile opened fire on his family members with a semi automatic weapon on New Years Eve. The deceased as a result of the incident include his father, mother, sister and an adult family friend. The juvenile’s grandfather, brother and another family friend were able to escape the home unharmed. At this point it is unknown what led to the shooting. The semi automatic weapon that was used by the juvenile is believed to have been lawfully owned by one of the family members.

Since the Defendant is a juvenile, the information regarding the incident has been very limited. What is known is that the juvenile has been charged with four counts of homicide, one count of unlawful possession of a weapon and one count of possession of a weapon for unlawful purpose. Procedurally speaking, since the Defendant is sixteen years old and considered a juvenile under New Jersey law, the matter must be heard in the Family Division of the Monmouth County Superior Court. However, when the charges are as serious as murder and the facts are egregious as they appear to be, the Monmouth County Prosecutor’s Office has the ability to file a motion to have the juvenile waived up to the adult criminal division. By doing so, they will seek to prosecute the juvenile as if he was an adult. For more information on juvenile waivers to adult court in New Jersey, please see below.

How Can a Juvenile Criminal Case be Waived up to the Adult Court in NJ?

In New Jersey, pursuant to Court Rule 5:22, there are several different ways in which a juvenile can be waived up to the adult criminal division for prosecution and they are are as follows:

  • Judicial Discretion for Juveniles Age 14 or Older and Charged with a Chart Two Offense;
  • Judicial Discretion for Juveniles Age 14 or 15 and charged with a Chart One Offense or with Certain Drug Offenses Committed within a School Zone;
  • Prosecutorial Discretion for Juveniles Age 16 or Older and Charged with a Chart One or Certain Other Enumerated Offenses;
  • Judicial Discretion for Juveniles Age 16 or 17 and Charged with Certain Drug Offenses Committed within a School Zone.

If the county prosecutor’s office is seeking to “waive” a juvenile criminal matter up to the adult criminal division, they must follow a very strict procedure. First and foremost, the must file a “waiver of jurisdiction” motion, pursuant to one of the aforementioned rules, in the family division within 30 days of filing of the underlying criminal complaint. That 30-day period may only be excused upon a showing of what is known as good cause. Once that motion is filed, a hearing will occur and during that hearing, the prosecution must establish probable cause for the charges. At this point in time the evidence needed to establish probable cause must be turned over to the defense attorney.

In the case at hand, the prosecution will most likely be filing under the “Judicial Discretion for Juveniles Age 14 or Older and Charged with a Chart Two Offense”. Under this subsection, the Judge shall waive jurisdiction to adult criminal division, without the juvenile consent, if probable cause has been established and one of the following circumstances exist:

  • The Juvenile is at least 14 years old &:
    • Charged with a crime committed at a time when the juvenile had previously been adjudicated delinquent, or convicted of:
      • Criminal homicide; or
      • Strict liability for drug-induced deaths;
      • First degree robbery;
      • Carjacking;
      • Aggravated sexual assault;
      • Sexual assault;
      • Second degree aggravated assault;
      • Kidnapping;
      • Aggravated arson;
    • Charged with a crime committed at a time when the juvenile had previously been sentenced to and confined in an adult penal institution;
    • Charged with an offense against a person committed in an aggressive, violent, and willful manner, other than a Chart 1 offense enumerated in N.J.S.A. 2A:4A-26a(2)(a); or the unlawful possession of a firearm, destructive device or other prohibited weapon; or arson; or death by auto if the juvenile was operating the vehicle under the influence…
    • Charged with a violation of N.J.S.A. 2C:35-3 (Leader of a Narcotics Trafficking Network), N.J.S.A. 2C:35-4 (Maintaining and Operating a CDS Production Facility), N.J.S.A. 2C:35-5 (Manufacturing, Distributing or Dispensing Narcotics), or an attempt or conspiracy to commit any of these crimes, other than where the violation, attempt or conspiracy involves the distribution for pecuniary gain of any controlled dangerous substance or controlled substance analog while on any school property or within 1000 feet of such school property;
    • Charged with a crime or crimes that are part of a continuing criminal activity in concert with two or more persons, when the circumstances show that the juvenile has knowingly devoted himself or herself to criminal activity as a source of livelihood;
    • Charged with theft of an automobile.

Based on the limited information that has been released, it appears that the juvenile will most likely be waived up to the adult criminal division for prosecution. For more information on Juvenile Waiver in New Jersey, please checkout the Supreme Court Family Practice Committee Juvenile Waiver Report by clicking the link.

Freehold NJ Juvenile Defense Lawyers

The New Jersey Juvenile Criminal Justice system can vary drastically at times from the Adult Criminal Justice System. That is why we strongly recommend that if you or your child has been charged with a juvenile criminal offense like aggravated assault, criminal mischief, possession of marijuana, distribution of drugs, or any other offense in Monmouth County, NJ, that you speak to an attorney who has extensive experience dealing with the juvenile criminal justice system. If not handled properly, juvenile cases can have life-long consequences. If you would like to speak to one of our Monmouth County criminal defense attorneys then please contact our Middletown Office at (732) 858-6959. We offer free initial consultations, so if you have any questions whatsoever, please do not hesitate to contact us.

Author: Keith G. Oliver

Founding partner Keith G. Oliver has a passion for helping people who are caught up in the criminal justice system. He believes that everyone has a right to be presumed innocent, and that one mistake shouldn’t define a person forever. This passion drives Mr. Oliver to tirelessly fight for his clients and pursue the best possible outcome in every case.