US Attorney for the District of New Jersey Philip R. Sellinger and Assistant Attorney General Kristen Clarke of the Justice Department’s Civil Rights Division announced on Thursday that Dion Marsh admitted committing a series of violent assaults on members of the Orthodox Jewish community in and around Lakewood.
Dion Marsh, 29, of Manchester, New Jersey, pleaded guilty before US District Judge Zahid N. Quraishi in Trenton federal court to an information charging him with five counts of violating the federal Matthew Shepard and James Byrd Jr. Hate Crimes Prevention Act and one count of carjacking. Marsh is charged with 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.
According to documents filed in the case and statements made in court: On April 8, 2022, Marsh carried out a series of violent assaults on members of the Orthodox Jewish Community in and around Lakewood. Each of Marsh’s victims was dressed in traditional garments worn by members of the Orthodox Jewish community and were assaulted because they were visibly identifiable Orthodox Jews.
At 1:18 p.m. on April 8, 2022, Marsh forced a visibly identifiable Orthodox Jewish man out of his car in Lakewood, assaulting and injuring him. Marsh took control of the man’s car and drove away.
At 5:20 p.m., Marsh was in Lakewood driving a different car when he deliberately struck another visibly identifiable Orthodox Jewish man with the vehicle, attempting to kill the victim.
At 6:06 p.m., Marsh used that second vehicle to deliberately strike another visibly identifiable Orthodox Jewish man, attempting to kill the victim and causing him to suffer several broken bones.
At 6:55 p.m., Marsh, once again driving the vehicle that he had stolen from the first victim, attempted to kill another visibly identifiable Orthodox Jewish man who was walking in Lakewood by deliberately striking him with the vehicle. 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.
At 8:23 p.m., Marsh, still driving the vehicle that he had stolen from the first victim, 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.
“This defendant violently attacked five men, driving a car into four of them, stabbing one of them in the chest, and attempting to kill them, simply because they were visibly identifiable as Orthodox Jews,” US Attorney Sellinger said. “Today, he pleaded guilty to these hate crimes and a carjacking, and my office will ask the judge to impose a sentence that holds Marsh accountable for his brutal and hate-filled rampage. The threat of hate-fueled violence is a sad reality across our state and our nation. That hate is not who we are. 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. My office has no higher priority than protecting the civil rights of our New Jersey residents.”
Assistant Attorney General Clarke added: “This defendant is being held accountable for his series of depraved, antisemitic assaults against members of the Orthodox Jewish community. Hate-filled acts of violence, intended to harm, intimidate and isolate communities, have no place in our society. The Justice Department will continue to aggressively prosecute perpetrators of antisemitic violence across our country.”
The four 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. Marsh is scheduled to be sentenced on June 11, 2024.