FREEHOLD – A Monmouth County Grand Jury has returned an eight-count indictment against three defendants charged in connection with a botched robbery that resulted in a shooting earlier this year, Acting Monmouth County Prosecutor Lori Linskey announced Friday.
Kingphess Gomez, 21, of Woodbury, 21-year-old Thaddeus West Jr., and 27-year-old Suncere Smith, 27, both of Neptune City, are all charged with first-degree Armed Robbery, first-degree Conspiracy, first-degree Attempted Murder, second-degree Certain Persons Not to Possess a Firearm, and other related second-degree weapons offenses.
Moments before 1:30 a.m. on Friday, January 22, 2021, a ShotSpotter notification indicated multiple shots fired on the 300 block of Fisher Avenue in Neptune City, and minutes later, members of the Wall Township Police Department stopped a vehicle and discovered the 19-year-old shooting victim in the front passenger seat. The victim was then rushed to Jersey Shore University Medical Center for emergency treatment.
A joint investigation by detectives in the Prosecutor’s Office’s Major Crimes Bureau and the Neptune Township Police Department led to the discovery that the three co-defendants lured the victim to the area in a conspiracy to rob him at gunpoint before the shooting incident ultimately occurred. With the assistance of the U.S. Marshals Regional Task Force, the defendants were arrested on these charges in August.
The case is being prosecuted by Assistant Prosecutor Caitlin Sidley of the Prosecutor’s Office’s Major Crimes Bureau.
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Gomez is being represented by Robin Kay Lord, Esq., with an office in Trenton; West is represented by Courtney Schneider, Esq., based in Freehold Borough; and Smith is represented by Glenn D. Kassman, Esq., based in Tinton Falls.
All three defendants remain incarcerated pending the adjudication of the cases against them.
If convicted of Attempted Murder or Armed Robbery, the defendants will face a maximum sentence of 20 years in a New Jersey state prison, subject to the provisions of the No Early Release Act (NERA), requiring them to serve 85 percent of the sentence imposed before becoming eligible for release on parole. They would also be under parole supervision for five years following release from state prison.
If convicted of Certain Persons Not to Possess Firearms, the defendants will face sentences of five to 10 years in a New Jersey state prison, with mandatory periods of five years of parole ineligibility. If convicted of the other second-degree firearm offenses, defendants will face sentences of five to 10 years in prison, subject to the Graves Act, which requires a mandatory period of parole ineligibility of half of the custodial sentence imposed, or 42 months, whichever is greater.
Despite these charges, every defendant is presumed innocent, unless and until found guilty beyond a reasonable doubt, following a trial at which the defendant has all of the trial rights guaranteed by the U.S. Constitution and State law.