A New Jersey man accused of violently attacking four Orthodox Jewish men and hitting three of them with a car in a violent one-day spree has been charged with federal hate crimes, prosecutors announced.
Dion Marsh, 27, of Manchester, was charged with four counts of violating the federal Matthew Shepard and James Byrd Jr. Hate Crimes Prevention Act and one count of carjacking, Philip R. Sellinger, the U.S. attorney for New Jersey, announced in a news release Wednesday.
Marsh could face life behind bars if he is convicted.
Marsh is alleged to have targeted his victims “because they were Jewish,” prosecutors said in a news release.
Authorities alleged that the spate of attacks started at 1:18 p.m. April 8 when Marsh forced “a visibly identifiable Orthodox Jewish man” out of his car in Lakewood and assaulted him in the process. He then took drove off in the victim's car, they said.
Hours later, just after 6 p.m., he was seen driving a different car “when he deliberately struck another visibly identifiable Orthodox Jewish man” with the vehicle, “attempting to kill the victim and causing him to suffer several broken bones,” prosecutors claimed.
At 6:55 p.m. Marsh, driving the first victim's car, tried to kill another Orthodox Jewish man, hitting him with the car as the victim was walking in Lakewood, the news release alleged. After striking him, Marsh got out of the vehicle and stabbed the man in the chest with a knife, leaving with a stab wound and other injuries, prosecutors said.
Nearly two hours later, just before 8:30 p.m., Marsh, once again in the first victim's car, struck another Orthodox Jewish man who was walking in Jackson Township, prosecutors said. The man suffered severe broken bones and internal injuries.
Marsh was arrested at his home at 12 a.m. April 9.
In regard to allegations of hate crimes, he was charged with willfully causing bodily injury to four victims and attempting to kill and cause injuries with a dangerous weapon to three of them because of their Jewish identity.
The charge of attempting to kill the victims carries a statutory maximum term of life in prison and a $250,000 fine, and the hate crime charge of assault carries a statutory maximum term of 10 years in prison and a $250,000 fine. The carjacking charge carries a statutory maximum of 15 years, as well as the $250,000 fine.
Marsh was in jail on state charges. Prosecutors said his initial court date on the federal charges is yet to be determined.
An attorney listed for Marsh for state charges did not immediately respond to a request for comment.