Men From Toms River & Seaside Heights Charged With Murdering Victim With An Illegal Handgun

Ocean County Handgun Charge Defense LawyersThis week, the Ocean County Prosecutor announced that serious criminal charges have been filed against Sevon Hill of Toms River and Shakar “Anthony” Barksdale of Seaside Heights.  The two have been indicted for murder (a.k.a. criminal homicide) and charged with various weapon offenses.  The charges arise out of an incident where a Brick resident, a 30-year-old man, was killed from a single gunshot wound.  The man was killed in Toms River outside the doorstep of an apartment complex in the Hampton Garden complex.

Before the shooting, Hill and Barksdale were staying in a local hotel.  The room in which they stayed had a significant amount of cocaine and heroin in it, police later discovered.  Police investigators actually found the two in a different hotel after the shooting.  In that hotel room, police also found cocaine and heroin.  Thus, in addition to the murder and weapons charges, Hill and Barksdale also face cocaine and heroin possession and distribution offenses.  Murder and Manslaughter Charges in Ocean CountyAt the top of the list of serious crimes in New Jersey, you have homicide.  Under the law in New Jersey, criminal homicide, the killing of another person, has different classifications.  Premeditated homicide is considered murder, and homicide that was the result of behavior showing extreme indifference to human life is manslaughter.  

State of mind.  The key issue that distinguishes the various types of criminal homicide is the perpetrator’s state of mind, as follows:

  • Murder occurs when the perpetrator purposely or knowingly causes death or serious bodily injury resulting in death.  In other words, the perpetrator’s state of mind must be that he either intended to kill (“purposeful”) or knew that his behavior would result in death (“knowing”).
  • Aggravated manslaughter occurs when the perpetrator recklessly causes death under circumstances manifesting extreme indifference to human life. 
  • Manslaughter occurs when the perpetrator recklessly or does something that would otherwise be murder but was committed in the heat of passion resulting from a reasonable provocation.  The classic case of “heat of passion” is when a person catches someone sleeping with the person’s spouse.

Given the facts of the Hill and Barksdale case, where a person was killed with a single gunshot, it is most likely that the killing was purposeful or knowing, thus the charge is likely murder.Penalties for Murder and Manslaughter
  • Murder – First-Degree crime – Minimum of 30 years with 30 years of parole ineligibility.  If the victim is younger than 14 years old, the sentence must be life without parole.
  • Aggravated manslaughter – First-Degree crime – 10 to 30 years in prison.
  • Manslaughter - Second-Degree crime - 10 to 20 years in prison.  
Defending a Murder Case in Toms River
When mounting a defense in a murder case it is important to remember the state of mind element.  Specifically, the State must prove beyond a reasonable doubt that a person intended to kill the victim to constitute murder.  Thus, the important question at trial becomes the perpetrator’s state of mind.  If it cannot be shown that the homicide was intentional, then murder cannot be proven.  

With regard to the so-called “insanity defense,” that defense is not a way to avoid incarceration.  Rather, a successful insanity defense will result in commitment to a mental institution for an indefinite period of time.  To show insanity in the eyes of the law, a defendant must show that he was not aware of what he was doing at the time of the homicide.

Finally, New Jersey also allows for a type of “temporary insanity” defense, which is called diminished capacity.  Diminished capacity is not a complete defense, but is a way in which to downgrade the penalty for a homicide.  To show diminished capacity, a defendant must show that he suffered from a “mental disease or defect” at the time of the crime, and thus did not have the state of mind required for the offense of murder.  Tom River Handgun Defense AttorneysA murder trial is one of the most serious legal matters that someone can face at the Ocean County Superior Court in Toms River. You absolutely need an experienced lawyer if you have been charged with an extreme offense such as this.  The attorneys at the Law Offices of Jonathan F. Marshall have the skill to provide sound advice and aggressive representation in homicide proceedings with several former prosecutors on staff and over 100 years in practice combined.  We invite you to speak to one of our trial lawyers before committing to representation.  We offer a free consultation so you can learn what an attorney on our team can do to help you.  Call us at 732-286-6500. Related Pages & Posts To Assist You

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