By: Richard L. Smith
A jury in Monmouth County Jury has returned guilty verdicts on the most serious charges against a man who attacked and killed a stranger in Freehold Township four and a half years ago, solely because of the victim's race, Acting Monmouth County Prosecutor Raymond S. Santiago reported Friday.
Officials at the Monmouth County Prosecutor's Office said following an approximately seven-week trial before Monmouth County Superior Court Judge Lourdes Lucas, Jamil Hubbard, 30, of Sayreville, was convicted of first-degree Murder, first-degree Bias Intimidation, second-degree Eluding, third-degree Theft from the Person, third-degree Possession of a Weapon for an Unlawful Purpose, and third-degree Motor Vehicle Theft, all in connection with the death of Mr. Jerry Wolkowitz, 56.
In the incident, officials said at approximately 7:15 a.m. on Tuesday, May 1, 2018, the Freehold Township Police Department and other first responders rushed to the Chesterfield Apartments on Harding Road on a report of a physical altercation involving a person struck by a vehicle.
According to the Monmouth County Prosecutor's Office, at that location, they found Wolkowitzin the apartment complex's parking lot, having sustained severe injuries to his head, abdomen, and back.
EMS rushed Wolkowitz to Jersey Shore University Medical Center for emergency treatment.
Police said Wolkowitz's Kia Forte vehicle was missing from the scene.
Authorities confirmed that Hubbard stole the car and sped away from the scene. He then led police on a pursuit, refusing to obey commands to pull over until it was terminated due to high speeds and out of concern for public safety.
Monmouth County official said minutes later, the Kia was found abandoned on Bordentown Avenue in Sayreville. Hubbard was arrested by the Sayreville Police Department members without incident at his home in the nearby Winding Wood Apartments.
“This was the textbook definition of a senseless crime, and as our prosecuting team astutely noted in their closing argument, ‘senseless’ does not mean ‘insane. “Mr. Wolkowitz was an innocent victim, minding his own business and on his way home from work, when his life was snuffed out over something as trivial as the color of his skin". -Monmouth County Prosecutor Raymond S. Santiago
According to Monmouth County Prosecutor's office officials, an investigation involving numerous members of the MCPO Major Crimes Bureau, Freehold Township Police Department, and Sayreville Police Department later revealed that Hubbard was in the area that morning because he had slept in his vehicle overnight, having engaged in an argument with his ex-girlfriend, a resident of the apartment complex, the night before.
When he woke up, officials said he told investigators he spotted Wolkowitzwalking nearby and decided to try to kill him because he was white, initially attacking him from behind with punches and kicks before stealing his wallet and car keys.
He also told investigators he dragged the victim into the parking lot and ran him over. Wolkowitz, a longtime member of the Freehold First Aid and Emergency Squad and a freelance photographer, remained hospitalized in a coma until he died due to his injuries on Thursday, October 18, 2018.
A Monmouth County Grand Jury returned a seven-count indictment against Hubbard in March 2019.
Hubbard's prosecution was handled by Monmouth County Assistant Prosecutors Hoda Soliman and Keri Schaefer, who presented evidence at trial refuting an attempted insanity defense, showing that Hubbard's conduct was intentional, knowing, and deliberate.
"Such a monstrous act necessitates that justice is served, and we sincerely thank the jury in this case for carefully weighing the evidence and reaching the appropriate conclusion." Monmouth County Prosecutor Raymond S. Santiago concluded.