TRENTON, NJ (MERCER)– A fire involving a pile of junked cars sent a towering column of smoke looming up over the northern end of the city this evening (Friday, Oct. 28). The blaze, which involved more than a dozen old vehicles, occurred at a junkyard in the 300 block of Enterprise Avenue. Firefighters who were alerted about 7 p.m. arrived to find a pile of scrapped auto parts engulfed in a mass of flames. Crews from Engines 6, 10 and 7, Ladder 4 and Rescue 1, under the direction of Battalion Chief Ross Dale, attacked the fire using a pair of 2.5-inch hoselines. Additional crews from Engine 1 and Ladder 1 were dispatched and sent to the Route 1 Freeway to see if a better vantage point could be had to attack the fire from the elevated roadway. Ultimately, however, the crews on the ground made quick work at containing the fire and preventing flames from spreading to either a nearby structure and another even larger pile of junked vehicles. With the blaze contained, those additional companies were not needed and were ordered off of the highway and back to quarters. Firefighters were on the scene for about an hour and a half hosing down the smoldering pile.
FREEHOLD – An Ocean County man has been arrested and charged with committing a daytime robbery of a West Long Branch check-cashing business that netted $700,000, Acting Monmouth County Prosecutor Raymond S. Santiago announced Friday.
Travis A. Bryant, 41, of Jackson is charged with first-degree Robbery, second-degree Burglary, and fourth-degree Possession of an Imitation Handgun.
At approximately 9 a.m. on Thursday, November 2, 2017, members of the West Long Branch Police Department responded to the check-cashing business on Route 36 on a report of a silent alarm activation. At that location, officers found a lone employee, who advised that a man wearing a hooded sweatshirt pulled tightly around his face and sunglasses had just robbed the store of a large quantity of cash.
It was quickly determined that the man had entered the store when no customers were present and used a ladder to access and climb through ceiling ducts in order to access a secured, employees-only area of the business where cash was stored. After falling through the ceiling, Bryant reportedly approached the store employee, indicating that he was in possession of a weapon, and ordered her into the store bathroom while he made off with her purse, cell phone, and approximately $700,000 in cash, driving away in a van.
An intensive, long-term investigation by members of the West Long Branch Police Department and a Special Agent with the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) resulted in Bryant being identified as a suspect in the case, and he was arrested without incident yesterday and lodged in the Monmouth County Correctional Institution (MCCI) pending a first appearance and detention hearing to take place in Monmouth County Superior Court.
This case is assigned to Monmouth County Assistant Prosecutor Matthew Bogner, Director of the MCPO Major Crimes Bureau, members of which also assisted in the investigation. Information on Bryant’s legal representation was not immediately available.
Convictions on first-degree crimes are commonly punishable by terms of 10 to 20 years in state prison.
Despite these charges, every defendant is presumed innocent, unless and until found guilty beyond a reasonable doubt, following a trial at which the defendant has all of the trial rights guaranteed by the U.S. Constitution and State law.
Jaree Kitchen, 24, was sentenced to 60 years pursuant to the No Early Release Act for the two counts of Murder and 10 years for the charge of Aggravated Arson, to run consecutively, for a total of 70 years.
October 28, 2022
JAMESBURG, NJ (MIDDLESEX)–Middlesex County Prosecutor Yolanda Ciccone announced today that Jaree Kitchen, 24, has been sentenced for the crimes of murder, aggravated arson, and weapons offenses.
On November 6, 2019, at approximately 3:19 a.m., Jamesburg Police officers responded to 7 Sheridan Street in Jamesburg for a report of a house fire. Upon arrival, officers observed visible flames exiting the structure of the house. The Jamesburg Fire Department arrived on scene and extinguished the fire. A subsequent investigation conducted by Sergeant Kevin Wilson, Detective Sergeant Jason Muller and Detective Jim Dennis of the Jamesburg Police Department and Sergeant Deon McCall of the Middlesex County Prosecutor’s Office, founded that Kitchen had recently returned to Jamesburg from Georgia to live with his father, Clifford Kitchen Jr., but soon after his arrival the father and son began having significant issues. This erupted into a physical altercation that resulted in Jaree Kitchen fatally stabbing both his father and another resident of the home, Gregory Fisher to death on November 4, 2019. On November 6, 2019, in an effort to destroy and cover up the murders that occurred within the home, Jaree Kitchen set the residence of 7 Sheridan Street on fire.
Kitchen was subsequently indicted for two counts of first-degree Murder, second-degree Aggravated Arson, two counts second-degree Desecrating Human Remains, two counts of third-degree Possession of a Weapon for an Unlawful Purpose, two counts of fourth-degree Unlawful Possession of a Weapon, and two counts of fourth-degree Tampering with Evidence.
Following the presentation of evidence by Assistant Prosecutors Amber Gibbs and Caitlin Lavery, Kitchen was convicted by a jury on June 1, 2022. Kitchen was sentenced by the Honorable Thomas J. Buck, today, October 28, 2022. Kitchen was sentenced to 60 years pursuant to the No Early Release Act for the two counts of Murder and 10 years for the charge of Aggravated Arson, to run consecutively, for a total of 70 years.
PRINCETON, NJ (MERCER)–Princeton Police Department reports that on October 28, 2022, at 10:38 a.m., a 2010 Kia Forte driven by Linda Simmins, 73 of Lawrenceville, was traveling south on Mercer Road. The pedestrian/victim, Salvatore Esposito-Dimarcant, 70,of Ewing was performing landscaping work in the 900 block of Mercer Road. Preliminary on-scene investigation revealed that Esposito-Dimarcant was standing in the southbound lane of Mercer Road when he was struck by the Kia Forte. Esposito- Dimarcant was transported to the Bristol Myers Squibb Trauma Center at Capital Health Regional Medical Center where he later succumbed to his injuries
The Police Department is requesting that anybody who witnessed the crash contact Ptl. Jonathan Myzie at (609) 921-2100 ext. 1875
The cause of the crash remains under investigation. An additional press release will follow when new information becomes available.
Many Law and Public Safety Divisions Will Play a Key Role in Ensuring a Fair, Free, and Smooth-Running Election
October 28, 2022
TRENTON, NJ (MERCER)–Attorney General Matthew J. Platkin announced several key measures the Department of Law and Public Safety will be taking during the 2022 General Election to help ensure a fair, free, and smooth-running election, to protect the right to vote, and to assist voters, election officials, and law enforcement in resolving any emergent voting-related legal matters.
Early voting in New Jersey will begin on Saturday, October 29 and will end on Sunday, November 6. During that time and on Election Day on Tuesday, November 8, many divisions of the Department of Law and Public Safety will have a role in ensuring free and fair elections in the State of New Jersey.
To safeguard the fundamental right to vote, the Attorney General announced that the Office of the Attorney General and the Division on Civil Rights are establishing a Voter Protection Initiative for the 2022 general election. This Initiative will focus on identifying and addressing any voting rights or civil rights violations, including under the New Jersey Civil Rights Act and the New Jersey Law Against Discrimination, that may arise during early voting and on Election Day.
The Attorney General’s Voter Protection Initiative will work with community stakeholders and partners to identify and address voting access issues. The Voter Protection Initiative will operate independently of the attorneys in the Division of Law who represent county elections officials and the Secretary of State.
“The right to vote is sacred, and we will do everything in our power to safeguard that right,” said Attorney General Matthew Platkin. “Now more than ever, it is critical that we ensure that New Jerseyans do not face intimidation, discrimination, or harassment when exercising their constitutional right to vote. Our Department’s initiatives to protect the right to vote during this election will ensure that every eligible voter will be able to cast a ballot, and that anyone who attempts to interfere with the voting process will be held accountable to the full extent of the law.”
The Attorney General also announced that, as in prior elections, hundreds of attorneys from the Division of Law will be working in shifts to answer emergent questions from county elections officials to ensure that all eligible voters can cast their ballots quickly, freely, and fairly in accordance with New Jersey’s election laws.
The Office of Public Integrity and Accountability (“OPIA”) will monitor voter intimidation, electioneering, elections fraud, and other criminal violations, and will direct reports of election interference to local and federal law enforcement as needed and the New Jersey Cybersecurity and Communications Integration Cell (“NJCCIC”) will also be monitoring for election security threats—both cyber and physical.
In preparation for the 2022 General Election, OPIA has also issued the Attorney General’s Law Enforcement Guidance for Elections to local law enforcement officials across the State. View Guidance
Moreover, the Department of Law and Public Safety has also created a webpage that provides New Jersey residents voting-related resources and answers to frequently asked questions regarding the right to vote. The webpage explains how voters can report any problems they encounter during early voting or on Election Day: www.njoag.gov/electionprotection
In addition to this newly created webpage, the New Jersey Division of Elections website, located at https://www.state.nj.us/state/elections/index.shtml, provides a list of county-level election office contacts, as well as other useful elections-related information.
Any person who believes his or her right to vote has been interfered with, or who wishes to report other voting-related problems or concerns, can call the State’s Voter Information and Assistance line toll-free at 1-877-NJVOTER.
Members of the public also can direct election-related questions to their County Superintendent of Elections and County Board of Elections.
Any member of the public who has been subject to discrimination or harassment in connection with voting may also report the issue to the New Jersey Division on Civil Rights through the NJ BIAS online portal, available at https://bias.njcivilrights.gov, or by calling 1-800-277-BIAS (1-800-277-2427). Depending on their urgency, complaints regarding possible discrimination or harassment filed with the Division on Civil Rights may be addressed during the election or after the election.
Attorney General Platkin also reminds the public that it is a criminal offense to solicit or electioneer voters within a “protective zone” as they enter or exit a polling location.
The “protective zone” extends 100 feet from the outside entrance of any polling site. Attempts to interfere with voters within this zone are usually handled by law enforcement officers from the appropriate agency.
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