FREEHOLD – A Monmouth County grand jury has returned a five-count indictment charging a Keansburg man with shooting and killing 20-year-old Evan Smutz inside his Center Street apartment in Keyport back in August, announced Monmouth County Prosecutor Christopher J. Gramiccioni.
John Curtin, 19, of Woodland Avenue in Keansburg, is charged in the indictment handed up Monday with first degree Murder, first degree Felony Murder, first degree Armed Robbery, second degree Possession of a Weapon for an Unlawful Purpose, and second degree Unlawful Possession of a Weapon.
On August 9, 2018, Keyport police responded to a 911 call reporting the shooting at 12:48 p.m. at 2 Center Street. Police arrived to find Smutz with a gunshot wound. He was pronounced deceased at 1:21 p.m.
A joint investigation by the Monmouth County Prosecutor’s Office and the Keyport Police Department determined Curtin arrived at Smutz’s apartment and engaged in an argument that culminated with Curtin fatally shooting Smutz. Curtin fled the apartment after the shooting. Hours later Curtin surrendered to the New York City Police Department and was subsequently transported back to Monmouth County.
If convicted of Murder or Felony Murder, Curtin faces a minimum sentence of 30 years in a New Jersey state prison without parole and a maximum sentence of life imprisonment, subject to the provisions of the "No Early Release Act" (NERA) requiring him to serve 85 percent of the sentence imposed before becoming eligible for release on parole. He would also be under parole supervision for five years following his release from state prison.
If convicted of Armed Robbery, Curtin faces a sentence of up to 20 years in a state prison, also subject to the provisions of the NERA.
If convicted of the second degree weapons offenses, Curtin faces a sentence of five to ten years in prison, and pursuant to the “Graves Act” there is a mandatory period of parole ineligibility of one half of the custodial sentence imposed, or 42 months, whichever is greater.
The case is assigned to Monmouth County Assistant Prosecutors Noah Heck and Michael Luciano.
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.