Prosecutor: Two Teens Face Murder Charges in Shootings

A juvenile and an 18-year-old have been charged in connection with a March 23 Asbury Park homicide, Monmouth County Prosecutor Christopher J. Gramiccioni announced on Tuesday. 

The juvenile is also facing an attempted murder charge stemming from an Oct. 29, 2019 shooting at the same home. 

Jamir Styles, 18, with a last known address of Asbury Park, and the 16-year-old juvenile, a Howell resident, were charged on Thursday, Oct. 29, with first-degree murder, first-degree conspiracy to commit murder, second-degree unlawful possession of a handgun, and second-degree possession of a handgun for an unlawful purpose.

The case background …

On March 23 at 11:36 p.m., Asbury Park Police responded to a DeWitt Avenue residence after being notified about a male gunshot victim located inside the home. Asbury Park Police officers responded and found the 24-year-old shooting victim, Christian Lahens, inside of his home. 

Lifesaving efforts were made by emergency medical personnel both in the home and en route to Jersey Shore University Medical Center. Despite these lifesaving efforts, however, Lahens was pronounced deceased at 12:16 a.m. on March 24.

The Asbury Park Police Department and the Monmouth County Prosecutor’s Office launched a joint investigation into the homicide. 

As a result of the months’ long investigation, police have determined that the juvenile and Jamir Styles were both armed with handguns when they approached the victim’s home. After alerting those inside the dwelling to their presence, they both fired several shots into the home. 

The victim was struck with gunfire and later died as a result. In addition to the charges against the 16 year old and Jamir Styles, law enforcement officers have additionally charged 19-year-old Jayson Freeman, of Lakewood, with hindering the apprehension of another, a third-degree crime, based upon his actions in aiding the two shooters.

The March 23 incident was the second time in five months that the victim’s DeWitt Avenue family residence had been struck with gunfire. 

On Oct. 29, 2019, at approximately 9:17 p.m., Asbury Park Police responded to the home after receiving a report of shots fired. Upon arrival, police determined that the residence had been struck with gunfire while several residents were inside. This incident was also jointly investigated by the Asbury Park Police and the Monmouth County Prosecutor’s Office.  

While investigating the March homicide at the DeWitt Avenue residence, police were able to determine that two juveniles, a 16-year-old, and a 14-year-old, were present outside this same home on Oct. 29, 2019 armed with a handgun. 

During the October incident, while outside the residence, one of the juveniles produced a handgun and fired shots inside. Unlike the March 2020 incident, however, no one was injured at that time. The 16-year-old juvenile charged with the March 2020 murder was one of the two juveniles involved in the Oct. 29, 2019 incident.

The two juveniles have been charged, on juvenile complaints, with first-degree attempted murder, first-degree conspiracy to commit murder and the second-degree crimes of unlawful possession of a handgun and possession of a handgun for an unlawful purpose as a result of the October, 2019 incident.

Styles, a G-Shine Blood, was part of the criminal enterprise identified in Operation Golden State. The investigation revealed that Styles was involved in the distribution of CDS and well as the possession and use of illegal firearms. More specifically, the investigation revealed that Styles and the juvenile carried out the murder of Lahens as part of the ongoing effort to target rivals of the criminal enterprise.

As part of Styles’ arrest in Operation Golden State, he was also charged with first-degree racketeering conspiracy, multiple weapons charges including second-degree conspiracy to commit unlawful possession of a weapon, second-degree unlawful possession of a weapon, and third-degree conspiracy to distribute a controlled dangerous substance.

If convicted of murder, Styles faces 30 years in a New Jersey state prison without parole subject to the provisions of the No Early Release Act (NERA,) requiring him to serve 85 percent of any sentence imposed beyond 30 years before becoming eligible for release on parole.He would also be under parole supervision for five years following his release from state prison.

If convicted of conspiracy to commit murder, Styles faces 30 years in a New Jersey state prison without parole subject to the provisions of the No Early Release Act (NERA), requiring him to serve 85 percent of any sentence imposed beyond 30 years before becoming eligible for release on parole. He would also be under parole supervision for five years following his release from state prison.

If convicted of the second-degree weapons offenses, Styles faces a maximum sentence of 10 years in a New Jersey state prison on each count, subject to the provisions of the Graves Act which carries a mandatory period of parole ineligibility of one half of the custodial sentence imposed, or 42 months, whichever is greater.

Jayson Freeman faces up to five years in prison if convicted of third-degree hindering the apprehension of another. 

The juvenile faces a term of up to 10 years in Family Court if convicted of the March 23, 2020 murder; however, the state has the ability to seek his waiver to the Superior Court, Law Division, where he would be subject to the same penalties as an adult upon conviction.

Both juveniles have been lodged in the Middlesex County Youth Detention Center, awaiting an appearance in Family Court. Styles was apprehended in DeKalb County, Georgia by the U.S. Marshals Service.  Freeman was arrested on an outstanding warrant by the Wall Township Police.

Police are encouraging anyone with information about these incidents to contact Detective Terrence McGhee of the Asbury Park Police Department at (732) 774-1300 or Detective Stephen Cavendish of the Monmouth County Prosecutor’s Office at (800) 533-7443.

— Edited press release from the Monmouth County Prosecutor’s Office

Retro RFH Political Clubbing

RFH Political Science Club of 1974-75 Photo/RFH Yearbook
RFH Political Science Club of 1974-75
Photo/RFH Yearbook

A reprise of an RFH classic from Nov. 7, 2016, just because it’s that time again … 

It’s the day of an unprecedented presidential election.

Political season has been in full swing in more ways than one — punches are being thrown in all directions.

It’s why they call it silly season. But, let’s take the focus off national and local politics of today for the evening and step back in time to the 1970s and politics as it was with RFH students and teachers.

Continue reading Retro RFH Political Clubbing

Getting to Know Fair Haven Council Candidates: Race Newcomer Laline Neff

This is Democrat Laline Neff’s first run for Fair Haven Borough Council. Neff is the running mate of incumbent Chris Rodriguez. She, Rodriguez and incumbent Fair Haven Borough Council President Susan Sorensen (R) are vying for two seats on council. Neff is attempting to unseat Sorensen.

Please note: All candidates were provided with a questionnaire at the same time from Rumson-Fair Haven Retrospect (R-FH Retro) exclusively. They were given sufficient time to answer the questions and return the completed questionnaire. Neff did not answer R-FH Retro’s questionnaire. R-FH Retro reached out to her to offer a last chance, but, regrettably, there was no response. So, the following is a bio/letter from her to voters directly from the Fair Haven Democrats website.

“Dear Neighbor,

“I am running for Fair Haven Borough Council this year and am writing you to ask for your vote. I am a 7-year resident of Fair Haven and deeply committed to our community. Fair Haven is my husband’s hometown, and when we moved here with our three young children, I immediately knew it was one of the best decisions we made for our family.

“Fair Haven is a wonderful place to live and I am committed to helping it thrive. That’s why I serve as a member of the Fair Haven Zoning Board and the Environmental Commission, and as lead coordinator of the Fair Haven Green Team. I am also a Girl Scouts Troop Leader. I proposed and developed the single-use plastic bag ban Ordinance adopted by the Fair Haven Borough Council in 2019.

“I also led the efforts that enabled Fair Haven to achieve Bronze Certification under the Sustainable Jersey Program in 2018, which helped the Borough receive two Sustainable Jersey grants for improvement projects. I hope to continue to serve our community as a member of Borough Council.

“I worked for 25 years as a financial analyst in New York City, including 21 years as a Director and credit rating analyst at S&P Global Ratings. My professional background and experience would bring a unique set of financial and analytical skills to the council at a time that our Borough is facing financial challenges due to the current recession and the need for a number of capital improvement projects.

“The Coronavirus pandemic has turned 2020 into a difficult year for all of us, both at a personal and at a community level. I am committed to ensuring that our Borough and our community remain resilient.

“These are some of the key areas I’d like to focus on as a member of the Fair Haven Borough Council:

  • Financial Resilience: We need to ensure that our Borough remains financially strong. We also need to make sure that we fully analyze the use of our tax dollars and ensure they are being used effectively and efficiently in order to minimize future tax increases.
  • Strong Multi-Year Planning: Multiple medium and large-scale projects are anticipated for our Borough in coming years. This includes much needed projects aiming at improving our aging infrastructure, including Borough buildings and roads. We need a strong multi-year planning process to ensure we can address these needs with solid financing, a well thought-out strategy and full, transparent, community engagement.
  • Sustainability: Caring for our ponds, fields, walking and biking paths as well as our riverside not only makes our town more sustainable but it improves the quality of life and health of our residents. We need to continue to work on ways to make our community more sustainable.
  • Inclusivity: It’s important that our Borough’s Commissions and Committees represent the wide range of views of our residents. We can do this by ensuring that appointed members to these commissions fully reflect the diversity of our community. This includes, but is not limited to, diversity by political party, age, gender, and minority representation.

“As the upcoming election quickly approaches, please make sure your voice is heard. Make sure to vote and vote early. I appreciate your support in this election such that, as member of the Fair Haven Borough Council, I can work towards ensuring that our wonderful community will continue to thrive!

“With my best regards,

Laline Neff”