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Somerset County Jury Convicts Man of Attempted Murder in 2018 Drive-by Shooting

Bridgewater Township

Somerset County officials announced that on October 13, a Somerset County Jury returned guilty verdicts against Robert W. Smith, now age 39, formally of Stanford Drive in Bridgewater Township, on charges arising from a May 2018 drive-by shooting.

The jury convicted defendant Smith of two counts of first-degree attempted murder, multiple firearm offenses, and possession of a firearm by a convicted person.

Somerset County Prosecutor Michael H. Robertson stated that at 10:04 p.m. on Friday, May 4, 2018, Bridgewater Police responded to multiple 9-1-1 calls into the Somerset County Communications Center reporting a motor vehicle collision with possible gunshots fired along Morgan Lane in the Finderne section of Bridgewater Township.

According to Prosecutor Robertson, police subsequently arrived at the scene and found defendant Smith on the ground outside the driver’s door to a black 2016 Nissan Rogue.

Prosecutor Robertson said that the Nissan Rogue was impaled against a utility pole adjoining Morgan Lane.  Smith, the lone occupant in the Nissan Rogue, sustained a fractured leg and a displaced hip in the collision.

Prosecutor Robertson stated Bridgewater Police also discovered a maroon 2011 Mazda CX7 crashed off the east side of Morgan Lane and about 100 feet into a set of trees.

According to Prosecutor Robertson, the police investigation determined that the Nissan and Mazda were simultaneously speeding south on Morgan Lane.

Prosecutor Robertson said that the two vehicles collided, causing the Nissan Rogue to crash into the utility police. The Mazda left the roadway and flipped over onto its roof and into the set of trees. The two occupants in the Mazda sustained minor injuries.

Prosecutor Robertson said the investigation further confirmed that defendant Smith fired three gunshots into the driver-side of the Mazda in an apparent attempt to kill the two occupants – one of whom was Smith’s former paramour and the mother of his two children.

The second occupant, a male, was also known to Smith. A subsequent search of the Nissan Rogue yielded a .38 caliber Titan Tiger revolver. The revolver contained three live hollow-point bullets and three empty shell casings.

According to Prosecutor Robertson, the serial numbers to the revolver had been manually grounded down and were no longer legible. Defendant Smith had previously been convicted of predicate drug offenses that prohibited him from owning or possessing firearms in the State of New Jersey.

Prosecutor Robertson stated the jury convicted defendant Smith of attempted murder, unlawful possession of a firearm, possession of a defaced firearm, fourth-degree possession of hollow-point bullets, and second-degree possession of a firearm for an unlawful purpose.

The jury acquitted Smith of a charge of unlawful taking the Nissan Rogue that was registered to Smith’s cousin.

Prosecutor Robertson stated, after the jury returned its initial verdicts, the same jury convicted Smith on the separate charge of second-degree possession of a firearm by a convicted person.