TOMS RIVER, NJ — A New Jersey man accused of attacking four Orthodox Jewish men, including hitting three of them with a car, has been charged with federal hate crimes.
Dion Marsh, 27, is charged with four counts of violating a federal hate crimes prevention act and one count of carjacking, US Attorney Philip R. Sellinger announced Wednesday. If convicted, Marsh could face a sentence of life in prison.
Marsh also faces state charges of attempted murder, bias intimidation and carjacking. Then last week, the Ocean County Prosecutor’s Office charged him with terrorism, among others.
Prosecutors Said Marsh targeted four men in the space of violent attacks because of their Jewish identities.
The string of violent attacks began in the early afternoon of April 8 when Marsh “forced a visibly identifiable Orthodox Jewish man out of his car” in Lakewood, a New Jersey township about 40 miles east of Trenton, prosecutors said in a statement. Marsh injured the man and then took the car and drove away, according to the statement.
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Later that evening, Marsh was driving a different car when he “deliberately struck another visibly identifiable Orthodox Jewish man with the vehicle, attempting to kill him and causing him to suffer several broken bones,” prosecutors said.
In the same evening, prosecutors say Marsh used the vehicle he stole from the first victim to hit another Orthodox Jewish man in Lakewood before he got out of the car and stabbed the man in the chest.
Hours later, Marsh struck another Orthodox Jewish man with the stolen vehicle, leaving him with several broken bones and internal injuries, prosecutors said. Marsh was arrested later that night at his home in Manchester, about 15 miles from Lakewood.
Marsh told detectives the attacks “had to be done,” according to police records.
The attacks are “reflective of the historically high levels of hatred directed at Jews” nationwide, said US Rep. Chris Smith, a New Jersey Republican who co-chairs the House Bipartisan Task Force for Combating Antisemitism. He called on the Department of Justice and FBI to investigate the incident.
“The federal hate crime charges brought against Dion Marsh are a chilling reminder of the ugly reality that antisemitism won’t go away by ignoring or wishing it away. It must be defeated,” Smith said.
Scott Richman, the New York/New Jersey regional director of the Anti-Defamation League, said in a statement he is “horrified at the cruelty” of the attacks, adding that more should be done to prevent violence against the Jewish community.
“Jews should not be afraid to freely go about their business without living in fear that they will be targeted for violence,” Richman said. “The past few years have seen far too many assaults against Jews.”
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On April 9, Ocean County Prosecutor Bradley D. Billhimer announced that Marsh was charged with three counts of attempted murder and three counts of bias intimidation, as well as carjacking, possession of a weapon for an unlawful purpose and unlawful possession of a weapon in connection to the attacks.
Last week, as a result of an ongoing investigation, Billhimer announced additional charges against Marshincluding terrorism, two additional counts of bias intimidation and one additional count each of attempted carjacking, attempted murder and attempted kidnapping.
Marsh, appearing virtually Wednesday from the Ocean County Jail, yelled and used obscenities repeatedly throughout the proceeding, prompting the Superior Court Judge Guy P. Ryan to order the hearing’s moderator to mute the defendant. The hearing was scheduled and rescheduled for Wednesday.
Marsh will be held without bail while awaiting a detention hearing.
George is Digismak’s reported cum editor with 13 years of experience in Journalism