Man Pleads Guilty to Hate Crimes for Attacks on Orthodox Jews in New Jersey City, Faces Life in Prison

JACKSON TOWNSHIP, New Jersey – A man has pleaded guilty to federal hate crimes for a series of violent attacks against Orthodox Jews in New Jersey. Dion Marsh, 29, admitted to five hate crimes charges and one count of carjacking after a daylong attack spree in and around Lakewood, a heavily Orthodox area in central New Jersey. The U.S. Department of Justice stated that the victims were targeted because of their Jewish identity, as they were recognizable by their traditional attire.

According to the federal complaint, Marsh attempted to kill four victims and assaulted a fifth, declaring that the attacks “had to be done” because he believed Hasidic Jews to be “the real devils.” The daylong spree included assaulting and carjacking a Jewish man, ramming a vehicle into another Jewish man, and stabbing a third victim in the chest. Marsh was later apprehended at his home by law enforcement. The attacks left the victims with serious injuries and broken bones.

The Anti-Defamation League (ADL) reported that Marsh had no prior indication of antisemitism before the attacks. The organization also revealed that New Jersey had seen 408 antisemitic incidents in 2022, including nine assaults. This guilty plea came during a time when the ADL has observed a surge in antisemitism nationwide following the Israel-Hamas conflict outbreak. The FBI, along with local police, conducted the investigation, and U.S. Attorney Philip R. Selinger emphasized that hate-fueled violence is a sad reality across the country and the state.

As Marsh faces a maximum penalty of life in prison and hefty fines, it further underscores the seriousness of hate crimes. His guilty plea is a reminder of the ongoing threat of hate-fueled violence and its impacts on local communities. The Department of Justice’s swift action in Marsh’s case serves as a significant step in addressing and prosecuting such heinous crimes. The guilty plea sends a strong message that individuals who perpetrate hate crimes will be held accountable for their actions.

The incidents also highlight the need for continued efforts to combat antisemitism and all forms of hate. The surge in antisemitic attacks following the Israel-Hamas conflict underscores the importance of promoting understanding, tolerance, and respect among different communities. The guilty plea serves as a reminder of the ongoing need for vigilance and action to eradicate hate and promote a society free from discrimination and violence.