Neptune Pair Sentenced for Killing Asbury Park Child

Monmouth County Prosecutor Christopher J. Gramiccioni announced that Karon Council, 19, of Neptune Township, has been sentenced to 25 years in prison for his role in the shooting death of a 10-year-old Asbury Park child back in February.

The Honorable Judge Richard W. English, J.S.C. sentenced Karon Council Friday morning. Council is subject to the No Early Release Act (NERA) requiring him to serve 85% of his sentence before being eligible for parole and a mandatory period of parole supervision of five years after his release from state prison.

Officials say Karon Council and co-defendant Jah-Del K. Birch, both of Neptune Township, pleaded guilty to their roles in the shooting death of 10-year-old Yovanni Banos-Merino on October 22, 2018. Council and Birch both pleaded guilty to first-degree Aggravated Manslaughter and second-degree Possession of a Weapon for an Unlawful Purpose. Both plea agreements were made in consultation with the boy’s mother, who was also injured in the shooting incident.

According to authorities, Asbury Park police responded to a 911 call around 10:40 p.m. on Wednesday, Feb. 21, 2018, reporting shots fired at a home in the 400 block of Ridge Avenue in the city. Police arrived to find the 10-year-old child and his 38-year-old mother had gunshot wounds. The child’s mother was treated and released for her injuries, however, the child was pronounced deceased at 11:18 p.m.

A joint investigation conducted by the Monmouth County Prosecutor’s Office and Asbury Park Police Department, with assistance from Monmouth County Sheriff’s Office and Neptune Township Police Department determined Council and Birch arrived at the home to target another occupant also present within the home but who was not injured during the incident. The child was not the intended target of the shooting.

The investigation further revealed that Council was the person who fired the gun.

In a separate proceeding, held today, Birch, 17, was also sentenced. Jah-Del K. Birch was sentenced to 10 years in prison by Judge English. Birch’s sentence is subject to the No Early Release Act (NERA) requiring him to serve 85% of his sentence before being eligible for parole and a mandatory period of supervision after release.