A man has been charged with federal hate crimes following a spree of violent assaults on members of the Orthodox Jewish community in and around the Lakewood, New Jersey area, officials announced Wednesday.
Dion Marsh, 27, of Manchester, New Jersey, is charged with four counts of violating the federal Matthew Shepard and James Byrd Jr. Hate Crimes Prevention Act and one count of carjacking.
According to official documents filed in the case and statements made in court, the string of attacks commenced on April 8, 2022, when Marsh reportedly forced a visibly identifiable Orthodox Jewish man out of his car in Lakewood, assaulting and injuring him in the process. Marsh took control of the man’s car and drove away. A surveillance video in the area shows Marsh arriving in the area prior to the carjacking and assault.
Later in the evening, Marsh was in Lakewood driving a different car when he purposefully struck another visibly identifiable Orthodox Jewish man with the vehicle, attempting to kill the victim and causing him to suffer several broken bones.
Only minutes later, Marsh, once again driving the vehicle that he had stolen from the first victim, attempted to kill another visibly identifiable Orthodox Jewish man. Marsh used the stolen vehicle to deliberately strike the man, who was walking in Lakewood. Marsh got out of the vehicle and stabbed the man in the chest with a knife, causing the victim to suffer a stab wound and other injuries.
Almost two hours later, still driving the vehicle that he had stolen from the first victim, the suspect used it to deliberately strike another visibly identifiable Orthodox Jewish man who was walking in nearby Jackson Township, New Jersey, attempting to kill the man and causing him to suffer several broken bones and internal injuries.
On April 9, 2022, law enforcement officers arrested Marsh at his residence.
According to officials, the three hate crimes violations charging Marsh with attempting to kill those victims each carry a statutory maximum term of life in prison and a $250,000 fine. The hate crime violation charging Marsh with assaulting the other victim carries a statutory maximum term of 10 years in prison and a $250,000 fine. The carjacking charge carries a statutory maximum term of 15 years in prison and a $250,000 fine.
The attacks come against a backdrop of increased antisemitism in the tri-state region. Antisemitic hate crimes in New York City almost quadrupled in January 2022 compared to the same month last year.