A New Jersey man has admitted to carrying out a series of hate crimes in the Lakewood area, including attempting to run down members of the Orthodox Jewish community with a car, officials announced.
Dion Marsh on Thursday pleaded guilty in a federal court hearing in Trenton to five counts of violating the federal Hate Crimes Prevention Act, including “willfully causing bodily injury to five victims, and attempting to kill and cause injuries with dangerous weapons to four of them, because they were Jewish,” the U.S. Attorney’s Office for the District of New Jersey announced. He also faced one count of carjacking.
Marsh’s violent spree began on April 8, 2022 around 1:20 p.m., when he forced a man dressed in traditional Orthodox Jewish attire out of his vehicle, assaulting and injuring him in the process, before speeding off in the stolen car, according to court documents related to the case.
Later the same evening, Marsh, driving around Lakewood in a different vehicle, tried to ram into another two men, both of them similarly wearing garb associated with the Orthodox Jewish faith.
The first incident happened around 5:20 p.m., while the second victim, who was left with broken bones, was hit less than an hour later, around 6:06 p.m. The U.S. Attorney’s Office called both attacks clear attempts to kill.
Marsh then swapped vehicles and again took to the streets of Lakewood, this time in the car he stole earlier in the day, court documents said. Around 6:55 p.m., Marsh again tried to run down another man in traditional dress before exiting the vehicle and stabbing him in the chest.
The final victim, who was also easily identifiable as an Orthodox Jewish man, was hit in nearby Jackson Township around 8:23 p.m., officials said. He was left with broken bones and other internal injuries.
Everyone targeted survived the attacks and Marsh was arrested at his home in Manchester by the night’s end.
“The threat from hate-fueled violence is a sad reality across our state and our nation. That hate is not who we are,” U.S. Attorney Philip R. Sellinger said in a statement Thursday. “We are stronger as a people because no matter what you look like, how you worship, where you come from, or who you love, your civil rights must be respected and protected.”
Marsh is slated to be sentenced in June. The U.S. attorney noted the four hate crime violations charging Marsh with an attempt to kill carries a statutory maximum term of life in prison and a $250,000 fine. The fifth, charging Marsh with assault, carries a statutory maximum term of 10 years in prison and a $250,000 fine, while the carjacking offense comes with a maximum of 15 years in prison.