Monmouth County Homicide Defense Attorneys
Last week, 18-year-old Karon Council and a 16-year-old accomplice arrived at an Asbury Park home. They knocked on the door and asked for someone named “Jameer.” A teenaged girl answered the door, and she recognized the 16-year-old from school. She told them that Jameer was not at home. So, the pair walked away from the house only to turn around and approach the house again. At that point, Council pulled a gun from his waistband and simply started shooting at the house. This act of unprovoked violence resulted in the killing of a 10-year-old boy in the house, and the wounding of the boy’s mother.
Council fled the State and ran to his girlfriend’s family’s house in Florida. U.S. Marshals and the Broward County Sheriff’s Department ultimately arrested him Sunday evening in Deerfield Beach, Florida. Council was extradited back to New Jersey this week and now faces murder charges in Monmouth County.
It was alleged in unconfirmed reports that Council, who has the street name “Boogie,” may be a member of the Bloods street gang. Council is from Neptune and has a criminal record that includes drug possession charges. It is unclear whether the girlfriend or the girlfriend’s family will be charged with harboring a fugitive.
This tragic crime in Monmouth County puts the spotlight on the various levels of criminal homicide and how it is charged in New Jersey.
The Crime of Murder and Manslaughter in New Jersey
Because the 18-year-old Council is facing murder or aggravated manslaughter charges, or both, let’s get a closer look at the law in those areas.
Murder. The murder statute in New Jersey, N.J.S.A. 2C:11-3 states, in relevant part, as follows:
Criminal homicide constitutes murder when:
- The actor purposely causes death or serious bodily injury resulting in death; or
- The actor knowingly causes death or serious bodily injury resulting in death[.]
As you can see, murder requires a “purposeful” or “knowing” state of mind. In other words, the perpetrator must either intend to kill (“purposeful”) or know that his behavior will result in death (“knowing”). The question then becomes whether the Monmouth County Prosecutor’s office can prove that Council had either a purposeful or knowing state of mind at the time he started his shooting spree.
It is possible that Council will also be charged with manslaughter.
Manslaughter. The manslaughter statute, which covers both aggravated manslaughter and manslaughter, in New Jersey (N.J.S.A. 2C:11-4) states, in relevant part, as follows:
Criminal homicide constitutes aggravated manslaughter when:
- The actor recklessly causes death under circumstances manifesting extreme indifference to human life[.]
Criminal homicide constitutes manslaughter when:
- It is committed recklessly; or
- A homicide which would otherwise be murder under section 2C:11-3 is committed in the heat of passion resulting from a reasonable provocation.
The question when it comes to manslaughter is again the applicable state of mind. Specifically in the Council case, the inquiry is whether shooting at a house would be mere recklessness, or recklessness under circumstances manifesting extreme indifference to human life.
Penalties for Murder and Manslaughter
- Murder is a first-degree crime, and a court must sentence a person convicted of murder to a minimum of 30 years in prison, but may sentence anywhere between 30 years and life imprisonment. In either case, the person must serve 30 years before being eligible for parole. Moreover if the victim is younger than 14 years old (which occurred in the Council case) the defendant must be sentenced to life without parole.
- Aggravated manslaughter is also a first-degree crime and when the perpetrator recklessly causes death under circumstances manifesting extreme indifference to human life, he faces a sentence of 10 to 30 years in prison.
- Manslaughter is a second-degree crime that carries a possible 10 to 20 year prison sentence.
Monmouth County Criminal Defense Attorneys – The Marshall Firm
The Law Offices of Jonathan F. Marshall handle all types of criminal cases, from minor marijuana possession cases to complex murder cases. The lawyers in the Marshall Firm have substantial experience in Monmouth County Superior Court and an established reputation for aggressive representation in court, challenging the State in the most difficult of cases. If you have been charged with a crime, even something as serious as murder, we have the expertise to represent you. Call our Freehold Office for a free initial consultation.
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