Day: January 18, 2023

Family’s Dream Of Owning A Home Now A Reality In Hamilton Township, Thanks To Bloomberg And Habitat for Humanity

January 18, 2023

Hamilton, NJ (MERCER) – Habitat for Humanity of South Central New Jersey and Bloomberg were excited to come together and hand the keys of a new, affordable home to its new homeowner. Habitat staff, volunteers, and board members were joined by Hamilton Mayor, Jeff Martin, and Bloomberg representatives in dedicating the newly built home to a local, hardworking family ready to start the New Year on new footing.

Nestled in the residential neighborhood behind the Hamilton West High School, just two doors down from another Habitat home stands The Boone Family’s new home. The community has been a focal point of Habitat’s work in recent years, thanks to the support of the township. Mayor Martin spoke on the extent of their partnership, thanked his staff, Bloomberg, and congratulated the homeowner. He said, “Congratulations. It always is an exciting day when you get to close and move into your home, and to know as a parent, that you’re providing for your family, for your kids, to grow up somewhere safe.”

The four-bedroom home was built in partnership by Habitat SCNJ, a local affordable housing organization, and Bloomberg, a financial, software, data, and media company. Bloomberg supported the project financially with a full house sponsorship of $150,000 as well as enough volunteer power to construct the home from the foundation to the front door. In total, 176 Bloomberg employees contributed 1,780 hours over the course of a year.

Habitat SCNJ’s Chief Development Officer, Annie Fox, spoke about the partnership fondly, “This is our second home built alongside Bloomberg, and although we saw some setbacks with the pandemic, we’re so thankful that they remained dedicated to supporting the Habitat mission. We’re both really proud of what we’ve built for Tye and her children and are excited to hand her the keys to her new home.”

New Habitat Homeowner, Tye, has balanced working as a nurse, caring for her three children, and meeting the sweat equity requirements for the Affordable Homeownership Program over the course of six months. Now, she and her family are ringing in the New Year with a place of safety and comfort all of their own. And like all Habitat homes, The Boone Family will purchase the home with an affordable, 30-year mortgage with payments that are 30% of their household income; this includes principle, taxes, and insurance. Not only that, but the home is deed restricted for 30 years to benefit any future homeowners as well.

Tye reflected on her homeownership journey and shared, “It was a realization one day, I was paying too much for rent when I couldn’t even sit on my porch with my baby to play peacefully.”

But when she began looking for an affordable and permanent place for her family, Tye quickly faced an uphill battle. Rent prices were soaring, and many qualification standards set by landlords were unrealistic for her meet as a single-income household.

“Then I came across a Habitat post on Facebook and applied to the program. I was determined to get better for my babies. When I was told I was approved for the program, I was speechless, excited. I really couldn’t believe it. I never thought I would be a homeowner.”

Tye is the first new homeowner of 2023 year for Habitat SCNJ, and one of 520 families to access permanent housing solutions through the organization over the last 35 years. More affordable homeownership projects are underway in Hamilton, Hightstown, and Bordentown where low-income families will soon purchase as well as numerous repair projects to help families live safely and healthily in their homes.

To see photos of the home dedication ceremony and other projects by Habitat, check out @HabitatSCNJ on Facebook and Instagram. Be sure to find all that Habitat has to offer by visiting for more information on the organization’s services, active projects, and current events.

Trenton Man Charged In Connection To Body Found In Trash Bag

January 18, 2023

TRENTON, NJ (MERCER)–Mercer County Prosecutor Angelo J. Onofri announced today that an investigation conducted by the Mercer County Homicide Task Force and the Trenton Police Department has resulted in charges being filed against a Trenton man in connection to last month’s discovery of a decomposed body in a garbage bag.

David Gibson, 44, of Trenton, is charged with disturbing or desecrating human remains, tampering with evidence, and hindering.  The prosecutor’s office has filed a motion to detain Gibson pending trial.  Gibson is the tenant of 615 Beatty Street who was evicted in November.  He is accused of placing the victim in the garbage bag after the victim was deceased, moving the trash bag to a different area, concealing the victim’s remains, and not contacting authorities. 

On December 23, 2022, a decomposed body in a garbage bag was located at a property in the 600 block of Beatty Street in Trenton by the landlord.  An autopsy was performed by the Middlesex Regional Medical Examiner’s Office, and the cause and manner of the victim’s death are pending further testing.  A tentative identification of the victim has been made, however that identification is pending DNA confirmation.

The investigation is ongoing.  Anyone with information is asked to contact the Mercer County Homicide Task Force at (609) 989-6406.  Information can also be emailed to

Despite having been charged, every defendant is presumed innocent until found guilty beyond a reasonable doubt in a court of law.

Shooting Homicide in Trenton Under Investigation

January 18, 2023

TRENTON, NJ (MERCER)–The Mercer County Homicide Task Force and the Trenton Police Department are investigating a shooting homicide in the city, Mercer County Prosecutor Angelo J. Onofri reported.

At approximately 4:07 p.m. on Monday, January 16, 2023, Trenton police responded to an apartment in the 100 block of South Overbrook Avenue on a report of an unresponsive male.  Upon arrival, officers located the apartment’s resident on the living room floor with an apparent gunshot wound. The victim, identified as Donnell Williams, 29, was pronounced dead at the scene.

No arrests have been made and the investigation is ongoing.  Anyone with information is asked to contact the Mercer County Homicide Task Force at (609) 989-6406.  Information can also be emailed to

Names of the 2023 Homicide Victims

  1. 1/16/2023 Donnell Williams, 29, Trenton, Shooting.

74-Year-Old Freehold Township Man Sentenced To 8 Years For Possession And Distribution Of Child Sex Abuse Materials

January 18, 2023

FREEHOLDA Freehold Township man was sentenced to a total of eight years in state prison in connection with the 2017 possession and distribution of child sexual abuse materials, Monmouth County Prosecutor Raymond S. Santiago announced Wednesday.

On Friday, January 13, 2023, before Monmouth County Superior Court Judge Jill G. O’Malley, James Simmons, 74, of Freehold Township was sentenced to four years in a New Jersey State Prison on a third-degree Endangering the Welfare of a Child, Possession of Child Sexual Abuse Materials charge. Simmons also received eight years on a second-degree Endangering the Welfare of a Child, Distribution of Child Sexual Abuse Materials charge. These two sentences will run concurrently. Upon release, Simmons faces mandatory Megan’s Law registration and Parole Supervision for Life.

Simmons was convicted of the charges on July 20, 2022.

A July 2017 investigation by the Monmouth County Prosecutor’s Office, along with NJ Internet Crimes Against Children (ICAC) Task Force and the Freehold Township Police Department, revealed that Simmons was found to be in a possession of a USB thumb drive with over 100 videos depicting the sexual abuse of a child, along with peer-to-peer file sharing programs from equipment located at his residence on Harding Road in Freehold Township.

This case was handled by Monmouth County Assistant Prosecutor Stephanie Dugan. Simmons is being represented by George B. Somers Jr., Esq., of Princeton.

$130,000 Settlement With Scrap Metal Company Beacon Metals Over Alleged Inaccurate Scale Shortchanging Customers

Beacon Metals, a scrap metal company with locations in Freehold and South Amboy.

January 18, 2023

TRENTON, NJ – Attorney General Matthew J. Platkin announced yesterday that the State has reached a $128,838 settlement with Beacon Metals, a scrap metal company with locations in Freehold and South Amboy. The settlement resolves allegations the company shortchanged consumers at its South Amboy location by using an inaccurate scale that provided short weight readings. A total of $112,952 of the settlement will go towards civil penalties with the remainder being used to cover the Division of Consumer Affair’s investigative costs and attorneys’ fees.

In July of 2021, the Division’s Office of Weights and Measures (“OWM”) inspected Beacon Metals’ truck scale at its South Amboy location and found it produced short weight readings. OWM learned that a company had tried to service the scale in January of that year and recommended it be replaced because it was inaccurate. But Beacon Metals did not install a new truck scale until two weeks after OWM’s July inspection. OWM identified nearly 16,000 transactions in which consumers were shortchanged because of the faulty scale.

“Consumers were deliberately cheated out of their money with the use of a scale Beacon Metals knew was not working correctly for six months” said Attorney General Platkin. “Through this settlement we are showing all metal buying businesses, whether scrap or precious, that their scales better be accurate, or we will catch them.” 

“Some people make their living on collecting and selling scrap metal,” said Division of Consumer Affairs Acting Director Cari Fais. “They deserve every single dollar they are owed for what they bring in to scrap yards and to know they are not being ripped off and shortchanged by their buyers.”

Under the terms of the Consent Order entered with the Division, Beacon Metals, among other things, agreed to:

  • Comply with all applicable state and federal laws, rules, and regulations, including the Consumer Fraud Act, the Weights and Measures Act, and the Scales, Instruments and Devices Regulations;
  • Not engage in any deceptive conduct;
  • Maintain devices in proper working condition as required by the Scales, Instruments and Devices Regulations; and
  • Not buy or sell goods based on weight or measurement by use of a weight or measure that has not been properly tested or sealed. 

Deputy Attorney General Jeffrey Koziar in the Division of Law’s Affirmative Civil Enforcement Practice Group, handled the matter for the state. Investigator Bryan Thomson of the Office of Weights and Measures handled the investigation for the Division of Consumer Affairs.

Consumers who believe they have been cheated or scammed by a business or suspect any other form of consumer abuse can file an online complaint with the State Division of Consumer Affairs by visiting its website or calling 1-800-242-5846 to receive a complaint form by mail.

Red Bank Man Charged With Numerous “Upskirting” Involving Juveniles

January 18, 2023

FREEHOLD, NJ (MONMOUTH) – A local man charged late last year with taking “upskirting” photos of two women in a Shrewsbury Borough supermarket has been rearrested and charged with numerous similar additional offenses, including eight involving victims who are believed to be juveniles, Monmouth County Prosecutor Raymond S. Santiago announced Tuesday.  

Christopher W. Cox, 33, of Red Bank is charged with eight counts of second-degree Endangering the Welfare of a Child, nine counts of third-degree Possession of Child Sexual Abuse Materials, nine counts of third-degree Invasion of Privacy, two counts of fourth-degree Criminal Sexual Contact, and a single count of fourth-degree Possession of a Large-Capacity Gun Magazine.  

An investigation involving members of the MCPO Special Victims Bureau and the Shrewsbury Borough Police Department has revealed the following facts:

Shortly before 4 p.m. on Thursday, October 20, 2022, a man later identified as Cox was seen entering the ShopRite of Shrewsbury on Shrewsbury Avenue, and shortly thereafter he began following female shoppers around the store, using his cell phone in a manner indicating that he was surreptitiously taking photos of them from behind. Cox was then seen exiting the store and leaving the area in a white Dodge Durango.  

About a week later, shortly after 9 a.m. on Thursday, October 27, 2022, Cox was pulled over on Newman Springs Road in Red Bank. After initially obeying a command from an officer to exit his vehicle, Cox then quickly reentered the SUV and sped away from the scene, with the officer releasing his grip on him in order to avoid getting dragged by the vehicle. Cox was located in Little Silver shortly thereafter and taken into custody without incident.

The investigation ultimately led to the seizure of the aforementioned large-capacity gun magazine and numerous digital video files in Cox’s possession, most depicting girls and women being surreptitiously filmed from below using a cell phone placed in a grocery basket, duffel bag, or other means of conveyance. The incidents took place at the following times and locations:

  • Shortly before 4 p.m. on Wednesday, November 10, 2021 at the ShopRite Wines & Spirits on South Avenue East in Westfield (Union County);
  • Shortly before 6:15 p.m. on Wednesday, November 10, 2021 at the ShopRite supermarket on West Grand Street in Elizabeth (Union County);
  • Shortly before 1:15 p.m. on Monday, May 30, 2022 at the ShopRite of Shrewsbury;
  • Shortly before 4 p.m. on Friday, July 1, 2022 at an unspecified Walmart;
  • Shortly after 12:30 p.m. on Monday, July 4, 2022 at the ShopRite supermarket at the intersection of routes 36 and 71 in West Long Branch;
  • Shortly after 2:45 p.m. on Monday, July 4, 2022 at an unspecified Foodtown supermarket;
  • Shortly before 1:45 p.m. on Saturday, September 10, 2022 at the Whole Foods supermarket on Route 35 in Middletown; and
  • Shortly before 1:45 p.m. on Sunday, September 18, 2022 at the ShopRite of Shrewsbury.

The investigation further determined that Cox has recently been employed as a plumber. The Criminal Sexual Contact charges against him are connected to incidents taking place on Friday, November 11, 2022 and Monday, January 2, 2023 in which he surreptitiously videotaped himself rubbing his pelvic area on clients while in their homes, in one case exposing himself and performing a lewd act.

This case has been assigned to Monmouth County Assistant Prosecutor Ryan Lavender of the Special Victims Bureau. Cox is being represented by Christian Fleming, Esq., with an office in East Brunswick.

Cox was last arrested during a traffic stop in Shrewsbury Borough on Thursday, January 12. A detention hearing in this case has been tentatively scheduled to take place on Thursday, January 19. The State has filed a motion to keep Cox detained as the case against him proceeds.

“The conduct being alleged and the frequency of the incidents associated with the charges announced today are equally concerning and disturbing,” Prosecutor Santiago said. “We are urging anyone who believes they may have been a victim of Mr. Cox to please come forward and tell us what they know.”

A recent photo of Cox is being released along with this press release. Anyone with information about this matter is urged to contact MCPO Detective Sgt. Shawn Murphy at 800-533-7443 or Shrewsbury Borough Police Department Detective Daniel DeCristofaro at 732-741-2500, Ext. 230.

Anyone who feels the need to remain anonymous but has information about this or any crime can submit a tip to Monmouth County Crime Stoppers by calling their confidential telephone tip-line at 1-800-671-4400; by downloading and using the free P3 Tips mobile app (available on iOS and Android –, by calling 800-671-4400, or by going to the website at

Convictions on second-degree criminal charges are punishable by up to 10 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.

Christopher W. Cox, 33, of Red Bank is charged with eight counts of second-degree Endangering the Welfare of a Child, nine counts of third-degree Possession of Child Sexual Abuse Materials, nine counts of third-degree Invasion of Privacy, two counts of fourth-degree Criminal Sexual Contact, and a single count of fourth-degree Possession of a Large-Capacity Gun Magazine.  

Leader Of Trenton Drug Trafficking Conspiracy Gets 19 Years In Prison

January 18, 2023

TRENTON, NJ (MERCER) – A Trenton man was sentenced yesterday to 228 months in prison for his role as the leader of a significant drug trafficking conspiracy that distributed more than one kilogram of heroin in Trenton and the surrounding area, U.S. Attorney Philip R. Sellinger announced.

Jakir Taylor, aka “Jak,” 32, previously pleaded guilty before Chief U.S. District Judge Freda L. Wolfson to Counts One and Seven of the first superseding indictment charging him with conspiracy to distribute and possess with intent to distribute one kilogram or more of heroin and possessing a firearm in furtherance of a drug trafficking crime. Chief Judge Wolfson imposed the sentence today in Trenton federal court.

According to documents filed in this case and statements made in court:

From October 2017 to October 2018, Taylor and others engaged in a large narcotics conspiracy that operated in the areas of Martin Luther King Boulevard, Sanford Street, Middle Rose Street, Southard Street, Hoffman Avenue, and Coolidge Avenue in Trenton, and which sought to profit from the distribution of heroin and numerous other controlled substances. Taylor and conspirator Jerome Roberts obtained regular supplies of hundreds of “bricks” of heroin from conspirator David Antonio, whom they referred to as “Papi.” Taylor and Roberts agreed to obtain from Antonio a “motherlode” supply of as many as 1,500 bricks – approximately 1.5 kilograms of heroin – in a single delivery. Taylor said that he intended to “flood the streets” of Trenton with this large supply. Taylor also admitted that he and his conspirators possessed at least one firearm to assist his drug trafficking operations, and on multiple occasions during the conspiracy Taylor actively sought to obtain additional firearms from other sources. During coordinated arrests on Oct. 25, 2018, law enforcement arrested Taylor, Roberts, Antonio, and other defendants, and recovered more than 1.4 kilograms of heroin from Antonio’s residence.

In addition to the prison term, Chief Judge Wolfson sentenced Taylor to five years of supervised release.

In October 2018, Taylor, and 25 other individuals were charged by criminal complaint with conspiracy to distribute heroin. On Apr. 11, 2019, a grand jury returned a nine-count superseding indictment charging Taylor and eight other defendants with conspiracy to distribute one kilogram or more of heroin and various other drug and firearm offenses. Twenty-three of the 26 defendants charged in the complaint have pleaded guilty. The remaining three were convicted after trial in October 2021.

U.S. Attorney Sellinger credited special agents of the FBI, Newark Division, Trenton Resident Agency, under the direction of Special Agent in Charge James E. Dennehy in Newark; special agents of the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms, and Explosives, Newark Division, Trenton Satellite Office, under the direction of Acting Special Agent in Charge Bryan Miller; officers of the Trenton Police Department, under the direction of Acting Police Director Steve Wilson; officers of the Princeton Police Department, under the direction of Chief of Police Nicholas Sutter; officers of the Ewing Police Department, under the direction of Chief of Police John P. Stemler III; officers of the Burlington Township Police Department, under the direction of Police Director Bruce Painter; and detectives of the Burlington County Prosecutor’s Office, under the direction of Prosecutor LaChia L. Bradshaw, with the investigation leading to today’s sentencing.

He also thanked officers of the N.J. State Police, under the direction of Superintendent Col. Patrick J. Callahan; detectives of the Mercer County Prosecutor’s Office, under the direction of Prosecutor Angelo Onofri; officers of the Mercer County Sheriff’s Office, under the direction of Sheriff John A. Kemler; and members of the N.J. State Board of Parole for their assistance in the case.

The government is represented by Assistant U.S. Attorneys J. Brendan Day and Alexander Ramey of the U.S. Attorney’s Office’s Criminal Division in Trenton.

This case is part of an Organized Crime Drug Enforcement Task Forces (OCDETF) operation. OCDETF identifies, disrupts, and dismantles the highest-level criminal organizations that threaten the United States using a prosecutor-led, intelligence-driven, multi-agency approach. Additional information about the OCDETF Program can be found at

The charges and allegations against the remaining defendants are merely accusations and those defendants are presumed innocent unless and until proven guilty.


Defense counsel: Jerome A. Ballarotto Esq., Trenton