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Prosecutor relentlessly continues effort to address and raise the Heroin Epidemic alarm

Prosecutor Joseph D. Coronato joined Monmouth County Sheriff Shaun Golden last night (4/19) to speak before the Rutgers University Student Organization RU Drug Aware. RUDA held the “Living in the Age of Addiction” Town Hall meeting for students and parents. Sheriff Golden and Prosecutor Coronato spoke about the drug epidemic and how their agencies work tirelessly to address and combat this crisis, through innovative approaches, strategies and solutions. Other guest speakers included the CEO from Carrier Clinic, a criminal trial attorney and addiction and recovery specialists.

Prosecutor Coronato will continue his crusade tomorrow morning by returning to Rutgers to address members of the NJ Nurses Association.

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LITTLE EGG HARBOR MAN INDICTED IN ATTEMPTED SEXUAL ASSAULT CASE

Ocean County Prosecutor Joseph D. Coronato today announced the Ocean County Grand Jury returned an indictment against Christopher Wilson, 20, of Little Egg Harbor Township, charging him with second degree Attempted Sexual Assault and two counts of third degree Endangering the Welfare of a Child.

The indictment yesterday (4/18) stems from an investigation by Ocean County Prosecutor’s Special Victims Unit Detective Stephanie Bayha and Little Egg Harbor Township Police Detective Joel Mahr.  The partnering agencies’ investigation, which began in December of 2016, alleges that Wilson offered the 12 year old female victim a gaming system in return for sexual favors.

On 1/19/17, Wilson was arrested after Sr. Assistant Prosecutor Christine Lento approved charges.  Nicole’s Order (No contact with victim) was implemented by Judge Patricia B. Roe J.S.C. and Wilson remains incarcerated in the Ocean County Jail.

The media and public are reminded that criminal charges are merely accusations and that the defendant is presumed innocent until and unless proven guilty.

Follow the Office of the Ocean County Prosecutor online at Twitter and Facebook.  The social media links provided are for reference only.  The OCPO does not endorse any non-governmental websites, companies or applications.  For additional information visit our website at www.oceancountyprosecutor.org.

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SEASIDE HEIGHTS MAN INCARCERATED ON SHOPLIFTING CHARGE FAILS TO APPEAR TO ANSWER CHARGES IN DEATH OF “BOOSHU”

Ocean County Prosecutor Joseph D. Coronato today announced Nicholas Piccolino, 34, of Seaside Heights, failed to appear for his April 10, 2017 scheduled arraignment on the charge of one count of Animal Cruelty in the 3rd degree for causing serious bodily injury and death to 10 year-old female Bichon Frise dog named “Booshu”.  His attorney requested the court grant an adjournment due to him presently being incarcerated and serving a 20 day sentence in New York City for a Shoplifting charge.  His nonappearance prompted Judge James M. Blaney, J.S.C., at the request of Ocean County Assistant Prosecutor Heidi Tannenbaum-Newman, to issue a Bench Warrant for his arrest and extradition to Ocean County upon his release, with a bail set at $20,000 no 10%.

The Animal Cruelty case and Piccolino’s subsequent indictment stems from an animal abuse incident reported on August 19, 2016, at approximately 9:55 pm, to the Seaside Heights Police Department.  Booshu’s owner alleged that Piccolino, who was alone with the dog in her kitchen, caused the dog’s death.  An investigation by NJSPCA Det. Sergeant Larry Donato, with assistance from the Seaside Heights Police Department, determined that during Piccolino’s time alone with Booshu, a resident of the house upstairs heard several loud banging sounds and a dog yelping in the kitchen below.  Shortly after, Piccolino notified the dog’s owner that something was wrong with her dog.  Booshu’s owner found the dog dead on the floor of the bathroom.  Piccolino claimed that Booshu “dirtied” herself in her crate and that while he was cleaning her up, he dropped her.

Booshu was transported to Red Bank Animal Hospital where she was pronounced dead upon arrival.  A subsequent necropsy performed on Booshu by Dr. Shannon Swist of the NJ Animal Health Diagnostic Lab found that Booshu suffered multiple blunt force injuries to her head and body which contributed to her death.

On September 13, 2016,  having received the necropsy report and having completed witness interviews, Det. Donato presented his findings to Ocean County Assistant Prosecutor Heidi Tannenbaum-Newman who approved Third Degree charges pursuant to NJSA Title 4:22-17c(1) and 4:22-17 c (3)(a) of Torment, torture, unnecessarily or cruelly beating a living animal resulting in their death.  Bail was set at the time of his arrest at $35,000.

The media and public are reminded that criminal charges are merely accusations and that the defendant is presumed innocent until and unless proven guilty.

Nicholas Piccolino

Follow the Office of the Ocean County Prosecutor online at Twitter and Facebook.  The social media links provided are for reference only.  The OCPO does not endorse any non-governmental websites, companies or applications.  For additional information visit our website at www.oceancountyprosecutor.org.

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G.R.E.A.T. THINGS HAPPENING IN TOMS RIVER SCHOOLS

Ocean County Prosecutor Joseph D. Coronato today announced the graduation of Toms River Silver Bay and North Dover Elementary School students from the Ocean County Prosecutor’s Office G.R.E.A.T. (Gang Resistance Education and Training) Program.  Today’s graduation marks the certification of another 210 students for the 2016/2017 school year.

Ocean County Prosecutors Office Sgt. Renee Nauyoks, Detectives Taryn Ritacco and Thomas Scalzullo partnered with Tom River PD Officers Pam Slaven and Ron Bayer and Ocean County Sheriff’s Officers Joe Kirby and Bill Zyckowski to fulfill the six week school outreach course.

The program focuses on teaching children life skills which include: decision making, communication skills, anger management, anti-bullying and respect. The program is taught by Officer’s trained and certified by OCPO, allowing local Law Enforcement to work collaboratively with the School District and the community.  To date the program has imparted life skills/lessons to over 1400 students throughout Ocean County who have completed the school-based, law enforcement officer-instructed classroom curriculum.

The Gang Resistance Education And Training (G.R.E.A.T.) Program is an evidence-based, national and international gang and violence prevention program that has been building trust between law enforcement and communities for almost 30 years.  G.R.E.A.T. is intended as an immunization against delinquency, youth violence, and gang membership.  It is designed for children in the years immediately before the prime ages for introduction into gangs and delinquent behavior.  The program is built around school-based, law enforcement officer-instructed classroom curricula.

OCPO brought the program to Ocean County Schools in 2011 and have been continuously working cooperatively with other Ocean County law enforcement agencies to expand the program locally in an effort to reach as many children as possible.  Those wishing more Information about the G.R.E.A.T. program can go to: www.great-online.org.

Follow the Office of the Ocean County Prosecutor online at Twitter and Facebook.  The social media links provided are for reference only.  The OCPO does not endorse any non-governmental websites, companies or applications.  For additional information visit our website at www.oceancountyprosecutor.org.

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PROSECUTOR CORONATO TO GET SHOUT OUT FROM RWJ BARNABAS HEALTH ON CBS RADIO 660 THE FAN DURING APRIL 9 AND APRIL 16 YANKEE GAME’S

Here is the text of the announcement:

RWJBarnabas Health, New Jersey’s largest hospital and healthcare system, salutes Prosecutor Joseph D. Coronato, in recognition of his accomplishments and law enforcement initiatives enacted in Ocean County, New Jersey.

Prior to becoming Ocean County’s prosecutor in 2013, Coronato had a distinguished law career in both civil and criminal practice.

Through Coronato’s leadership Ocean County was the first county in New Jersey to utilize the “antidote” Narcan for opioid and prescription drug overdoses.

Coronato and Ocean County worked with RWJBarnabas Health to establish the OORP program, which gets individuals that have overdosed from opiates into treatment from hospital emergency rooms.  He also launched a Blue Harp program where an individual with substance abuse can go to an Ocean County police department and be placed into treatment with no criminal charges

Coronato has twice been named “Prosecutor of the Year” and has received honors from NJTV, New Jersey Association of Mental Health and Addiction Agencies, Peace Island Institute and DART Coalition.

RWJBarnabas Health salutes Joseph D. Coronato, a lifelong Yankees fan, for his dedication and support of New Jersey’s communities. RWJBarnabas Health. Let’s Be Healthy Together.

Follow the Office of the Ocean County Prosecutor online at Twitter and Facebook.  The social media links provided are for reference only.  The OCPO does not endorse any non-governmental websites, companies or applications.  For additional information visit our website at www.oceancountyprosecutor.org.

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DEALER ARREST – OCPO CONTINUES TO LEAD IN STRICT LIABILITY PROSECUTIONS

Ocean County Prosecutor Joseph D. Coronato and Brick Police Chief James Riccio today announced the arrest of Timothy Baker, 26, of Jackson, NJ in connection with the drug induced death of Thomas Palazzolo, 26, of Brick.

            “Prosecutor Coronato stated, “OCPO will continue to lead the way in developing Strict Liability/Drug Induced Death cases.  It’s critical during this opiate crisis we take strong punitive measures against dealers bringing death to those fighting addiction”.

Today (4/6), Det. Brian Farnkopf of Brick Police Department and OCPO Major Crimes Unit Det. John Carroll signed criminal complaints against Timothy Baker for Strict Liability Drug Induced Death, Possession of Heroin, Possession with the Intent to Distribute Heroin and Distribution of Heroin.  Baker is currently incarcerated since January 31, 2017 at Ocean County Correction Facility on prior narcotic drug charges related to this case.

Timothy Baker’s arrest stems from the death investigation of Thomas Palazzolo, begun on January 27, 2017.  On that date at approximately 9:47 am, the Brick Township Police Department received a 911 call stating Thomas was unresponsive on his bedroom floor.  Brick Police immediately upon arrival attempted life saving measures with negative results.  Thomas was pronounced deceased at 10:07 am.

Officers on scene, observing signs of a drug overdose, immediately, per the Prosecutor’s directive, contacted the Ocean County Prosecutor’s Major Crimes Unit and the Ocean County Sheriff’s Criminal Investigations Unit to respond.  The ensuing intensive investigation would ultimately lead back to Baker and link him to Thomas Palazzolo’s overdose death.  An autopsy by the Ocean County Medical Examiner would confirm that Palazzolo’s death was drug induced.

The investigation was conducted by the Brick Police Department, Ocean County Special Operation Group and the Ocean County Major Crime Unit, with assistance from Ocean County Sherriff’s Department CSI.  Ocean County Assistant Prosecutor Mara Brater is the case prosecutor.

The media and public are reminded that criminal charges are merely accusations and that the defendant is presumed innocent until and unless proven guilty.

TIMOTHY BAKER

Follow the Office of the Ocean County Prosecutor online at Twitter and Facebook.  The social media links provided are for reference only.  The OCPO does not endorse any non-governmental websites, companies or applications.  For additional information visit our website at www.oceancountyprosecutor.org.

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OCPO RELEASES FINDINGS OF NON FATAL TOMS RIVER POLICE OFFICER INVOLVED SHOOTING INVESTIGATION

In compliance with the New Jersey Attorney General’s Law Enforcement Directive 2006-5 (July 28, 2015) regarding the uniform statewide procedures and best practices for conducting police officer use-of-force investigations, this public statement is being issued regarding the July 7, 2016 non-fatal officer involved shooting of Timothy Sauers that occurred in Toms River Township.

The Office of the Attorney General agrees with the findings of Ocean County Prosecutor Joseph D. Coronato that the undisputed facts of this case prove that the use of deadly force by the police officers was legally justified. The Attorney General also agrees that there are no material facts in dispute with regard to the officers’ use of force. As a result, presentation to the Grand Jury was not warranted.

On July 7, 2016, Timothy Sauers pulled a dark colored handgun on three Toms River Police Officers during a motor vehicle stop in the area of Haines Road and Cedar Drive in Toms River. The first officer, who was on routine patrol driving a marked police vehicle, stopped and approached the man, who was wearing only pants and told him that he was parked illegally. The officer then asked the man for his identification. Once the man provided his license, the officer allowed the man, now identified as Timothy Sauers, to return to his Jeep Cherokee and sit in the driver seat. The officer returned to his marked police car and contacted Police Dispatch. Meanwhile, two additional officers arrived on scene as backup. Police Dispatch informed the officers that Sauers had an outstanding arrest warrant out of South Toms River. The officers approached Sauers’s Jeep. Knowing that he had a warrant, Sauers exited his Jeep and pointed a handgun at the lead officer.  The lead officer yelled “gun”, fell to the ground, drew and discharged his duty weapon while creating distance between himself and Sauers.  The other officers fired their duty weapons in an attempt to protect themselves and ultimately took a defensive position behind one of the police cars.

Sauers was struck multiple times and escaped by jumping into the Toms River. He was located after an exhaustive search involving multiple agencies and has since recovered from the gunshot wounds. Detective John Murphy of the Ocean County Prosecutor’s Office interviewed Sauers and he explained that he was tired of his life and he wanted to end it.  He acknowledged that he got out of the Jeep, pulled out a handgun and pointed it at the officer in the hopes that that they would shoot and kill him. He stated that the gun looked real and that he got it from his brother.  The Ocean County Sheriff Criminal Investigation Unit later determined the handgun to be a semi- automatic design with a slide and pistol grip that qualified as a handgun under the law.

Sauer’s text message history corroborated his statement to Detective Murphy in that he had sent a text message to his ex-girlfriend while he was in his Jeep waiting on the officers. In that text, he indicated that “… I got a cop here right now [,] watch its bout to be on the … news …”  One day earlier, he had also texted his ex-girlfriend a picture of him holding the gun to his head.

Sauers was charged with Unlawful Possession of a Handgun pursuant to NJSA 2C:39-5(b), Aggravated Assault on an Officer pursuant to NJSA 2C: 12-1b(4) and Possession of a Firearm for an Unlawful Purpose pursuant to NJSA 2C: 39-4(a). He is being housed in the Ocean County Jail in lieu of bail.

The Office of the Attorney General and Ocean County Prosecutor Joseph Coronato are satisfied that the undisputed facts establish that the Toms River police officers used the appropriate force necessary to protect their own lives and safety. Moreover, they were legally justified in doing so. This investigation was conducted consistent with the New Jersey Attorney General’s Law Enforcement Directive 2006-5 (July 28, 2015) regarding the uniform statewide procedures and best practices for conducting police officer use-of-force investigations.

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ST. PATRICK’S PARADE TRAFFIC ENFORCEMENT STATS

Ocean County Prosecutor Joseph D. Coronato today announced the Ocean County law enforcement Route 35/37 traffic enforcement detail for March 11, 2017 produced an impressive enforcement outcome bringing added safety to the significantly high volume traffic activity brought about by the Seaside Heights St. Patrick’s Day parade.  The most significant enforcement statistics included: four (4) Driving Under the Influence arrests, thirty eight (38) Summons for various Moving Violations, three (3) Drug/CDS related offenses, three (3) Warrant arrests, and six (6) fight/disorderly/assault responses.

The detail perimeters included State Highway 35 from Seaside Park Borough to Point Pleasant Beach and State Highway 37 Seaside Heights to Manchester Township.  The detail encompassed ten (11) municipal jurisdictions traversing the Route 35 and Route 37 Highways in Ocean County.  This initiative was a pro-active effort to prevent accidents and address traffic violations following the Seaside Heights Saint Patrick’s Day parade on the identified detail highways.   This safety action was addressed through three (3) critical components; engineering, education and enforcement.  The multi-jurisdictional effort was supported by the Chiefs of Police and supervisors from the following jurisdictions:

  • Seaside Heights Police Department
  • Seaside Park Police Department
  • Toms River Police Department
  • Lavallette Police Department
  • Brick Police Department
  • Berkeley Township Police Department
  • Mantoloking Police Department
  • Bay Head Police Department
  • Point Pleasant Beach Police Department
  • Manchester Police Department
  • Lakehurst Police Department
  • Ocean County Prosecutor’s Office
  • Ocean County Sheriff’s Department
  • NJ State Police Troop “C” Tactical Patrol Unit & D.U.I. Enforcement Patrol
  • Ocean County Road Department
  • Ocean County Engineering Department
  • New Jersey Division of Highway Traffic Safety
  • New Jersey Department of Transportation

Detail patrols were instructed to strictly and aggressively enforce NJ motor vehicle statutes that are common contributory causes of crashes.  These causes include, but are not limited to, driving while under the influence, aggressive driving, improper/unsafe turning, failing to yield, failing to keep right, improper passing, inattentive driving, disregard of traffic signals, excessive speed, following too closely and various commercial carrier violations such as overweight, equipment maintenance and inadequate brake pressure.  Equipped participating agencies utilized Automated License Plate Readers.  Approximately six (6) Variable Message Signs were strategically placed reading “Traffic Enforcement Detail in Effect” – “Obey All Traffic Laws” to raise awareness regarding the enforcement action.

Follow the Office of the Ocean County Prosecutor online at Twitter and Facebook.  The social media links provided are for reference only.  The OCPO does not endorse any non-governmental websites, companies or applications.  For additional information visit our website at www.oceancountyprosecutor.org.

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FATHER SENTENCED IN BERKELEY DROWNING CASE

Ocean County Prosecutor Joseph D. Coronato today announced Robert S. Trella, 42, of Berkeley Township appeared before Judge Patricia B. Roe, J.S.C. this morning and was sentenced to three years in New Jersey State Prison. Trella had pled guilty to second degree Endangering the Welfare of a Child for causing his 2 year old child to be an abused or neglected. The defendant was also ordered to have no contact with his other children unless ordered by Division of Child Protection and Permanency.

The sentencing stems from the tragic events of August 17, 2015, when Ptl. Alexander Houle, of the Berkeley Twp. Police Department, was dispatched to a residential area within the township for a report of a 9 year old girl running down the street stating that her 2 year old sister was missing. Ultimately, the child’s sister, a two year old female, identified as M.M, was located unresponsive in a neighboring swimming pool. M.M. was transported to Community Medical Center in Toms River where she was pronounced dead.

On January 20, 2016, Trella was arrested by Officers from the Berkeley Twp. Police Department in connection with the investigation into the drowning death. He has remained incarcerated since the time of his arrest on bail set at $150,000, no 10 percent.

Witnesses in the area advised police that M.M. had been seen wandering around the neighborhood unsupervised on prior occasions before her death. It was further revealed that M.M.’s 9 year sister assumed many of the care taking responsibilities for M.M.

The lead investigators in the case were Detective William Somers, Sergeant William Cullen and Patrolman Taylor Butler of Berkeley Twp, P.D, as well as, Sergeant Brian Haggerty of Ocean County Prosecutor’s Office Major Crimes Unit. The Crime Scene Investigation Unit of the Ocean County Sheriff’s Office also assisted in the investigation. Senior Assistant Prosecutor Christine Lento prosecuted the case.

Follow the Office of the Ocean County Prosecutor online at Twitter and Facebook. The social media links provided are for reference only. The OCPO does not endorse any non-governmental websites, companies or applications. For additional information visit our website at http://www.oceancountyprosecutor.org.

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WANTED SANDY FRAUD CONTRACTOR ON THE RUN

Ocean County Prosecutor Joseph D. Coronato is asking media outlets in a number of towns and states listed below to post the attached picture of Jamie Lynn Lawson, age 42, a Super Storm Sandy contractor wanted for fraudulent activity by the Ocean County Prosecutor.  Lawson has been a fugitive since December 14, 2016.  He is currently under indictment for theft and money laundering related to 14 victims of contractor fraud totaling $480,000.  The Ocean County Prosecutor’s Office will be superseding that indictment to include 34 victims totaling approximately $1.5 million.  Its alleged Lawson took money from the thirty-four homeowners in Ocean & Monmouth Counties and then did either no work or less than contracted services on their homes. He allegedly used the money for vehicles and personal expenses.

Jamie Lynn Lawson is believed to have been in the following areas since December of 2016:

  • Austin, TX
  • Dallas, TX
  • Addison, TX
  • Denton, TX
  • Irving, TX
  • Houston, TX
  • Port Lavaca, TX
  • Rowland, NC
  • Fairmount, NC
  • Lumberton, NC
  • Bishopville, SC
  • Greenville, TN
  • Siloam, GA
  • Livingston, AL
  • Sedalia, MO
  • St. Louis. MO
  • Tulsa, OK
  • Quapaw, OK
  • Mendenhall, MS
  • Brandon, MS
  • Florence, MS
  • Jackson, MS
  • Magee, MS

Lawson moved to New Jersey shortly after Superstorm Sandy and made application to the New Jersey Division of Consumer Affairs to be registered as a Home Improvement Contractor.  The State registered Lawson based upon his material misrepresentations on the application including his failure to disclose his prior criminal convictions.  Shortly thereafter, he began taking contracts to perform Sandy related renovations and new home construction.

The specific counts of the original Indictment include Financial Facilitation of Criminal Activity (Money Laundering) – Second Degree (more than $75,000), six counts  of Theft by Failure to Make Required Disposition – Second Degree (more than $75,000), nine counts of Theft by Failure to Make Required Disposition – Third Degree (more than $500 and less than $75,000), Tampering with Public Records for submitting  a fictitious Home Improvement Contractor Application   Third Degree and one count of Unregistered Home Improvement Contracting – Fourth Degree.  Superior Court Judge Patricia B. Roe, J.S.C. set bail on the Indictment Warrant at $150,000, restricted him from engaging in home improvement & building contracts and required him to surrender his passport.

The investigation is ongoing and is being conducted in cooperation with the Brick Police Department, Toms River Police Department, Ocean County Department of Consumer Affairs and New Jersey Division of Consumer Affairs.  Anyone with information regarding Lawson’s whereabouts is asked to contact Sergeant Mark Malinowski of the Ocean County Prosecutor’s Economic Crime Unit at 732-929-2027 Ext.4032 or the US Marshals Service by e-mail at:  usms.wanted@usdoj.gov.

JAMIE LYNN LAWSON

Follow the Office of the Ocean County Prosecutor online at Twitter and Facebook.  The social media links provided are for reference only.  The OCPO does not endorse any non-governmental websites, companies or applications.  For additional information visit our website at www.oceancountyprosecutor.org.

 

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