Morris County Prosecutor Fredric M. Knapp announced May 22nd, that a Morris County jury found Melvin Hester, 35, of Newark, guilty of one count of third degree Aggravated Assault on a Law Enforcement Official.
Authorities said the defendant was acquitted of one count of fourth degree Throwing Bodily Fluid at Certain Law Enforcement Officers. The jury returned its verdict after deliberating on May 22nd. The Honorable Catherine I. Enright, J.S.C. presided over the trial.
According to officials, the defendant was lodged in the Morris County Correctional Facility on unrelated charges following an arrest on January 4, 2016. This prosecution stemmed from an incident in which the defendant forced his cell door open during a formal inmate count, and assaulted a corrections officer by punching him in the face.
The defendant faces up to five years in New Jersey State Prison on the third-degree Aggravated Assault on a Law Enforcement Official.
Prosecutor Knapp stated, “The duties of the jury is a crucial aspect of our society and their service is greatly appreciated. An unprovoked assault upon any law enforcement officer, such as occurred here and as found by the jury, is an egregious offense which threatens the security and well-being of everyone in the correctional facility. The officers involved should be commended for their professionalism and restraint”.
This matter is scheduled for sentencing before the Honorable Catherine I. Enright, J.S.C. on July 20th.