MORRIS COUNTY — Morris County Prosecutor Fredric M. Knapp announced yesterday, May 22, that a Morris County jury found Melvin Hester, 35, Newark, guilty of one count of third degree Aggravated Assault on a Law Enforcement Official. The defendant was acquitted of one count of fourth degree Throwing Bodily Fluid at Certain Law Enforcement Officers. The jury returned its verdict after deliberating on Tuesday, May 22. The Honorable Catherine I. Enright, J.S.C. presided over the trial.
The defendant was lodged in the Morris County Correctional Facility on unrelated charges following an arrest on January 4, 2016. This prosecution stemmed from an incident in which the defendant forced his cell door open during a formal inmate count, and assaulted a corrections officer by punching him in the face.
The defendant faces up to five years in New Jersey State Prison on the third-degree Aggravated Assault on a Law Enforcement Official.
Assistant Prosecutor Gloria Rispoli and Assistant Prosecutor Tara Wang, assigned to the General Investigations Unit of the Morris County Prosecutor’s Office, represented the State during the trial.
Prosecutor Knapp stated, “The duties of the jury is a crucial aspect of our society and their service is greatly appreciated. An unprovoked assault upon any law enforcement officer, such as occurred here and as found by the jury, is an egregious offense which threatens the security and well-being of everyone in the correctional facility. The officers involved should be commended for their professionalism and restraint”.
Prosecutor Knapp would specifically like to thank Agent Lois Aria of the Morris County Prosecutor’s Office and the Morris County Sheriff’s Office Bureau of Corrections for their continued exceptional work.
This matter is scheduled for sentencing before the Honorable Catherine I. Enright, J.S.C. on July 20, 2018.