Millburn, N.J. Black Home Invader Sentenced; Then He Plays the Race Card

   

Armed Alabama

 

Published on Dec 14, 2016

By Tom Haydon | NJ Advance Media for NJ.com June 29, 2016
NEWARK -- A Newark man was sentenced to life in prison, plus five years, in connection with the beating and robbery of a Millburn woman inside her home that was recorded on a "nanny-cam."
Superior Court Judge Ronald D. Wigler ordered the extended sentence for Shawn Custis, 45, of Newark.
Authorities say that on June 13, 2013, Custis broke into the woman's Millburn home, discovered she was there, punched and kicked her, and then threw her down the basement stairs, all while her 3-year-old daughter sat on the couch and the son was upstairs.
On June 1, 2016 a jury found Custis guilty of aggravated assault, robbery, endangering the welfare of a child, burglary, and criminal restraint. He was found not guilty of the more serious charge of attempted murder.
Wigler also imposed 10-year sentences for the aggravated assault and burglary charges and five-year terms for the restraint charge, but ordered those sentenced run concurrent with the life sentence.
Prosecutors had said the robbery charged carried a 20-year maximum sentence, and that Custis, because of his prior criminal record, could receive the extended sentence.
During the trial, four women, two of them former girlfriends of Custis, testified and identified him as the man in the video.
Prosecutors had to deal with claims that police were biased because the first police detective to arrive at the house after the attack was recorded on the nanny-cam as referring to the then unknown assailant using racial slurs.
Authorities said Custis broke into the home and discovered the woman, then beat her until she fell to the floor. He then went upstairs, but quickly came down and attacked the woman again as she was trying to get up and reach for a phone.
Wigler, in announcing the sentence, noted Custis' long criminal history and prison sentences that had failed to stop him from breaking the law. "There is no deterring Mr. Custis," Wigler imposed the life sentence for a robbery charge, and ordered that Custis serve at least 85 percent of that term before being eligible for parole. Under New Jersey law, a life sentence is 75 years. Custis would have to serve at least 63 years and 9 months, or 85 percent, before he could be paroled on that charge. However, Wigler also imposed a separate five-year sentence for a charge of endangering the welfare of a child, and ordered the five-year term to run consecutive to the life sentence.
During the attack, the victim's 3-year-old daughter sat on a couch just feet away from where her mother was beaten. The woman's 18-month-old son was asleep on the second floor of the home.
Nanny-cam catches brutal Millburn home invasion
When Wigler announced the life sentence, the victim of the crime, who was sitting in the courtroom, broke down in sobs.
The woman, whose name has been withheld at the request of the Essex County Prosecutor's Office, said she suffered a broken bone in her back, broken teeth and a strained knee. She said she still has no feeling on the right side of her body as a result of the beating.
However, she said the emotional effects have been worse. She was forced to move and has been unable to work. She carries a security alarm device at all times, and she becomes anxious each time her door bell rings.
"He (Custis) has taken my sense of security. I spend more time in therapy when I should be spending it with my family," she said.
Both Wigler and Essex County Assistant Prosecutor Jamel Semper commended the victim for her courage to confront Custis and testify during the trial.
Tom Haydon may be reached at thaydon@njadvancemedia.com. Follow him on Twitter @Tom_HaydonSL. Find NJ.com on Facebook.