RED BANK: TRIO GUILTY OF TEACHER’S MURDER

jonelle meltonRed Bank teacher Jonelle Melton was slain in her Netpune City apartment in 2009.

By JOHN T. WARD

hot topic red bank njAlmost a decade after the death of Red Bank Middle School teacher Jonelle Melton, three men were found guilty Tuesday of her vicious torture and murder.

A jury in Freehold found the trio guilty of all charges in the case, according to a Twitter announcement early Tuesday afternoon from the office of Monmouth County Prosecutor Christopher Gramiccioni.

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ON THE GREEN: JEWS MOURN & STAND FIRM

rumson, nj, rabbi dov goldberg, congregation b'nai israelRabbi Dov Goldberg addressing the at Congregation B’Nai Israel Monday night. (Photos by John T. Ward. Click to enlarge.)

By JOHN T. WARD

rumson, nj, congregation b'nai israel Pain and insecurity were in the air as hundreds of Jews and non-Jewish supporters packed temples in Rumson and Tinton Falls Monday night to mourn the killing of 11 worshippers in a Pittsburgh synagogue two days earlier.

 

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RED BANK: ‘GOING HOME’ FOR FIREFIGHTER

Engine 96 of the Westside Hose Company, bearing the casket of slain Red Bank volunteer firefighter Andrew Hill, leads a procession past the Leighton Avenue firehouse Tuesday. A contingent of pipes and drums, with representatives from Monmouth, Middlesex, Essex and Hudson counties, played ‘Going Home’ as the cortege passed, en route to a cemetery in Tinton Falls. (Video by John T. Ward. Click to enlarge.)

 

RED BANK: HONORS FOR SLAIN FIREFIGHTER

Firefighters gathered at Calvary Baptist Church for a special service in memory of Andrew Hill prior to his funeral. (Photos by John T. Ward. Click to enlarge.)

By JOHN T. WARD

Red Bank firefighters gave a formal sendoff Tuesday to one of their own, a 26-year-old volunteer slain just blocks away from the firehouse where he found his purpose in life, in the words of Mayor Pasquale Menna.

In an open casket at the Calvary Baptist Church on Bridge Avenue, Andrew Hill‘s remains were dressed in the formal blue firefighters’ uniform he’d recently finished paying for.

Outside, the fire engine on which he’d answered numerous alarms waited to carry his casket to a cemetery.

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RED BANK: STREET VIGIL HONORS FIREFIGHTER

Lit by candles and streetlights, participants shared memories of Andrew Hill at the event. Below, Hill in a selfie posted to his Facebook page last November. (Above photo by John T. Ward. Click to enlarge.)

By JOHN T. WARD

On the Red Bank corner where he suffered a fatal stab wound, dozens of mourners gathered for a hushed vigil in memory of 26-year-old firefighter Andrew Hill Saturday night.

Many wore t-shirts bearing the emblem of the firehouse where he served, located just four blocks away. And everyone, it seemed, had been affected by Hill’s irrepressible positive attitude.

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RED BANK: FIREFIGHTER’S FUNERAL SET

A tribute marks the place on Tilton Avenue where Andrew Hill was found stabbed early Sunday. He died a short while later at Riverview Medical Center. (Photo by John T. Ward. Click to enlarge.)

By JOHN T. WARD

Red Bank emergency personnel are planning a white-glove sendoff for one of their own next week.

Volunteer firefighter and first-aider Andrew Hill, 26, died early Sunday, shortly after he was stabbed on Tilton Avenue at the corner of Bank Street, according to the Monmouth County Prosecutor’s office.

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RED BANK: MURDERED FIREFIGHTER RECALLED

Andrew Hill in a 2015 Facebook photo. Below, fire Chief Stu Jensen’s badge bore a black band in memory of Hill and others. (Click to enlarge.)

By JOHN T. WARD

He had just made the last payment on his dress blues, the uniform that Red Bank volunteer firefighters wear to ceremonial occasions like the Memorial Day remembrance of colleagues who have died in the previous year.

But 26-year-old Andrew Hill was absent from Monday’s ceremony. Instead, he was among those being honored less than 36 hours after he was murdered just four blocks from the firehouse he loved.

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RED BANK: FIREFIGHTER STABBED TO DEATH

The scene of Saturday night’s killing. Neighbors said the victim was seen lying in the roadway in front of the van seen above. (Photo by John T. Ward. Click to enlarge.)

By JOHN T. WARD

A Red Bank volunteer firefighter was stabbed to death early Sunday morning and another borough man was charge with his killing, the Monmouth County Prosecutor’s office reported.

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RED BANK: A VIGIL FOR VICTIMS, AND PEACE

rb vigil 071016 2
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Children carried three bouquets of flowers — one for the five police officers slain in Dallas last week, one for victims of senseless violence, and one for “peace in our hearts and our country,” in the words of Mayor Pasquale Menna — at a vigil in Red Bank Sunday night.

About 40 residents, local clergy and a contingent of borough police officers participated in the brief ceremony, held at the Veterans Memorial on Monmouth Street at Drummond Place. 

Additional photos are below. (Photos by John T. Ward. Click to enlarge) Read More »

RED BANK: MENNA CALLS FOR TOWN VIGIL

rb vigil 061616 10HOT-TOPIC_03Red Bank Mayor Pasquale Menna is calling on area residents to participate in a silent vigil Sunday evening for the five law enforcement officers slain in Dallas Thursday “and for civilian victims of violence in our country,” he said in an alert distributed Saturday.

Participants are asked to gather at 7 p.m. at the Veterans Memorial, at the corner of Monmouth Street and Drummond Place. Three wreaths will be on display, Menna said: one for the officers killed, one for victims of senseless violence, and one for “peace in our hearts and our country.”

Attendees may leave flowers at the site. (Photos by John T. Ward. Click to enlarge)

RED BANK: SECOND VIGIL HONORS VICTIMS

rb vigil 061616 2rb vigil 061616 1As participants present lit a candle from a single flame at a vigil in Red Bank Thursday night, Pastor Terrence K. Porter of Pilgrim Baptist Church urged each of them to think of a single victim of  Sunday’s Orlando nightclub attack, America’s bloodiest-ever mass shooting.

“The candle you light is a reflection of that image in your mind,” he said.

The memorial service, held at Johnny Jazz Park on Drs. Parker Boulevard, was the second such service in town in two nights, and was organized by the West Side Ministerial Alliance and other other religious groups. Additional photos are below. (Photos by John T. Ward. Click to enlarge)

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RED BANK: VIGIL CALLS FOR LOVE, GUN LAWS

rb vigil 061516 6rb vigil 061516 2Dozens of Red Bank area residents gathered for a candlelight vigil in memory of the victims the nightclub attack that took place in Orlando, Florida early Sunday morning, in which 49 were killed and 53 wounded in America’s bloodiest-ever mass shooting.

Several speakers, including Rabbi Marc Kline, of the Monmouth Reform Temple in Tinton Falls, called for tighter gun laws. “We need to do more than mourn and grieve,” he told the gathering, held outside Red Bank’s borough hall on Monmouth Street. A later reference to a Senate filibuster then underway for gun-law reform drew strong applause.

Additional photos may be seen below.

A second vigil, organized by the West Side Ministerial Alliance and other other religious groups, is scheduled for 7:30 p.m. today at Johnny Jazz Park, corner of Drs. Parker Boulevard and Shrewsbury Avenue in Red Bank. For further information, call 732-747-2343. (Photos by John T. Ward. Click to enlarge)

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RED BANK: VIGIL FOR PULSE VICTIMS PLANNED

rb vigil 062415 16HOT-TOPIC_03As they did in response to the murders of nine churchgoers in Charleston, South Carolina last year, Red Bank residents and others will gather again this week to mourn.

Mayor Pasquale Menna has called for a community-wide candlelight vigil “in remembrance of the victims in the senseless nightclub attack” that took place in Orlando, Florida early Sunday morning, in which 49 were killed and 53 wounded in America’s bloodiest-ever mass shooting.

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RED BANK: FOURTH MAN CHARGED IN SLAYING

jonelle melton 111915 1Photos of slain Red Bank teacher Jonelle Melton, as displayed at a prosecutor’s press conference in November. Below, a state Department of Corrections photo of suspect Jerry J. Spraulding. (Photo above by John T. Ward. Click to enlarge)

By JOHN T. WARD

spraulding

A fourth suspect in the 2009 killing of a Red Bank Middle School teacher has been charged, Acting Monmouth County Prosecutor Christopher J. Gramiccioni said Friday.

Like the the three men charged in November, the latest suspect, Jerry J. Spraulding, 38, of Keansburg, was already in custody, Gramiccioni said in a prepared statement.

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SHREWSBURY: A PLEA FOR LESS-HARSH TALK

planned-parenthoodIn the aftermath of a violent assault on the Planned Parenthood health center in Colorado Springs that left three people shot dead and nine wounded last month, local faith leaders and elected officials plan to gather in support of the organization outside its health facility on Newman Springs Road in Shrewsbury on Wednesday at 9:30 a.m. 

In keeping with similar events being held nationwide this week, supporters “are calling for an end to the violent rhetoric that fuels this toxic environment” of anti-Planned Parenthood extremism, said area spokeswoman Casey Olesko. (Archive photo by John T. Ward. Click to enlarge)

RED BANK: TRIO CHARGED IN MELTON MURDER

MCPO 111915 3Middle School Principal Maria Iozzi, left, and teachers Wendy Turnock and Mary Wynan speak with former Superintendent Laura Morana, back to camera, following the prosecutor’s announcement Thursday. (Photo by John T. Ward. Click to enlarge)

By JOHN T. WARD

HOT-TOPIC_02Three Asbury Park men have been indicted in the “heinous” murder of Jonelle Melton, a Red Bank Middle School teacher they killed after breaking into her Neptune apartment six years ago, Acting Prosecutor Christopher Gramiccioni said Thursday.

The three, who were already in custody on unrelated charges when they were indicted Wednesday, are alleged to have broken into Melton’s apartment by mistake after planning to burglarize another one in the Brighton Arms apartment complex, Gramiccioni said at a press conference in Freehold Thursday morning.

The news brought relief to school administrators and teachers who knew Melton.

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RED BANK: PROSECUTOR ‘CLOSING IN’ ON KILLER

jonelle3

A poster displayed at the middle school during a February, 2010 memorial event for murdered teacher Jonelle Melton.  (Photo by Dustin Racioppi. Click to enlarge)

By JOHN T. WARD

just_in1The Monmouth County Prosecutor says his office is “closing in on” the killer of Jonelle Melton, a Red Bank Middle School teacher murdered in her Neptune apartment almost six years ago.

In an unusual move, Acting Prosecutor Christopher J. Gramiccioni said in a statement released Monday afternoon that his office has “recently developed new leads that make us confident that those responsible for this senseless crime will be brought to justice,” and appealed to the public for help.

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RED BANK MAN DIED IN E’TOWN SHOOTING

just_inThe victim in a fatal shooting in Eatontown early last Friday was a Red Bank man, the Monmouth County Prosecutor’s office confirmed Monday afternoon.

Rasheem Palmer, 37, died at 2:47 a.m. Friday at Jersey Shore Medical Center in Neptune, two and a half hours after he was found lying wounded in the roadway at the the entrance to the Country Club Apartments, according to prosecutor’s spokesman Charles Webster.

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RED BANK: LIGHTING THE NIGHT AGAINST HATE

rb vigil 062415 13 rb vigil 062415 5Several hundred participants gathered on Red Bank’s West Side Wednesday night for a vigil in response to the murders of nine churchgoers in Charleston, South Carolina last week.

Beginning with a march from Pilgrim Baptist Church to Ralph ‘Johnny Jazz’ Park, participants sang and heard calls for an end to violence from a handful of local church leaders. And in the final moments, they shared the flame of a “unity candle.”

Click “read more” below for full photo coverage. (Photo by John T. Ward. Click to enlarge)

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RED BANK: ANTIHATE MARCH & VIGIL PLANNED

PILGRIM baptistIn response to the murders of nine churchgoers in Charleston, South Carolina last week, Red Bank’s Pilgrim Baptist Church is organizing an anti-hate, anti-violence march and candlelight vigil Tuesday night.

The march will begin at 8 p.m. at the church, at 172 Shrewsbury Avenue, and head to Ralph ‘Johnny Jazz’ Park at the corner of Drs. James Parker Boulevard for the vigil. In the event of rain, the vigil will be held in the church sanctuary.  (Photo by John T. Ward. Click to enlarge)

RED BANK: WOMAN’S KILLER GETS 27 YEARS

viridiana-beltran-gomezThe estranged husband of a Red Bank woman found murdered alongside the Garden State Parkway in 2011 was sentenced to 27 years in prison Thursday, NJ.com reports.

Superior Court Judge Richard English told Oscar Prior-Ramirez, 34, of Eatontown, that he must serve 85 percent of his sentence before he’s eligible for parole. The judge noted that Prior-Ramirez also has a U.S. Immigrations and Customs Enforcement detainer, and so may be deported to Mexico upon his release, according to the report.

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NO RETRIAL FOR CONVICT IN RUMSON MURDER

HOT-TOPIC_01The convicted gunman in a 1987 Rumson murder failed to demonstrate that alleged prosecutorial errors led to an unfair trial, a judge ruled Friday, according to a report on NJ.com.

The decision, by Superior Court Judge Diane Pincus in Middlesex County, means that Albert Erle Kershaw, who was 24 years old in 1989 when he was sentenced to life in prison for the execution-style murder of his boss in Rumson two years earlier, isn’t entitled to the retrial he was seeking.

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RED BANK: GUILTY PLEA IN WOMAN’S MURDER

viridiana-beltran-gomezThe estranged husband of a Red Bank woman found murdered alongside the Garden State Parkway in 2011 has pleaded guilty to aggravated manslaughter, the Monmouth County Prosecutor announced Tuesday.

Oscar Prior-Ramirez, 33, of Eatontown, admitted in court that he strangled his ex-wife, Viridiana Beltran-Gomez, 26, of Bank Street, during an argument on May 12, 2011, according to a press release from the office of Acting Prosecutor Christopher Gramiccioni.

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CONVICT IN RUMSON MURDER SEEKS RETRIAL

kershaw arrestThe Red Bank Register story reporting the arrest of Albert Erle Kershaw in February, 1988. (Click to enlarge)

From Sunday’s Star-Ledger, a report on the efforts of a convicted killer to get a new trial. The victim, 50-year-old Earl Monroe Shoemaker, was gunned down in the driveway of his home on North Ward Avenue in Rumson on December 15, 1987.

Man convicted in 1987 Rumson murder returns to court seeking a new trial (via NJ.com)

John O’Boyle/The Star Ledger NEW BRUNSWICK — Albert Erle Kershaw was 24 years old in 1989 when he was sentenced to life in prison for the execution-style murder of his boss in Rumson two years earlier. Kershaw’s previous efforts to obtain a new…

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KILLER OF TWO GETS TWO LIFE TERMS

SuspectsAntonio ‘Mingo’ Suarez-Perez, left, will not be eligible for parole. Co-defendants Samson Theodore ‘Freedom’ Hearn, center, and Eric Joel ‘Pun’ Figueras testified against him.

The triggerman in 2009’s vicious double homicide on Red Bank’s West Side in has been sentenced to two consecutive life sentences, the Monmouth County Prosecutor’s office announced Friday.

Under a sentence handed down Friday morning by State Superior Court Judge Ronald Reisner, Antonio ‘Mingo’ Suarez-Perez, a 24-year-old borough resident, will not be eligible for parole for his role in the killings February 10, 2009 killings of Sidney Wakefield, 26, of Long Branch  and Joseph Fann, 23, of Middletown.

The sentencing comes two months after a jury in Freehold convicted Suarez-Perez on two counts of first-degree murder.

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