JACKSON TOWNSHIP, New Jersey — A man in New Jersey has pleaded guilty to federal hate crimes for a brutal series of attacks against Orthodox Jews in the area. In April 2022, Dion Marsh targeted Orthodox Jews in and around Lakewood, a city in central New Jersey known for its Orthodox Jewish community. The U.S. Department of Justice stated that Marsh recognized the victims as Jewish due to their traditional attire and specifically targeted them because of their religion.
Marsh, 29, ultimately admitted to five hate crime charges and one count of carjacking. According to the Justice Department, he attempted to kill four victims and assaulted a fifth. As a result, he faces a possible life sentence in prison for his crimes.
During the investigation, Marsh expressed his belief that the attacks were necessary because he considered Hasidic Jews to be “the real devils.” He showed no remorse, stating, “They had this coming.” The day of the attacks, he forcibly removed one Jewish man from his vehicle, assaulted him, and then drove off in the stolen car. Later on, he used another vehicle to ram into a Jewish man, causing severe injuries. He also rammed a second Jewish man with a vehicle, then proceeded to stab a pedestrian and assault another Orthodox Jewish man in a nearby township.
Following the investigation, the Anti-Defamation League emphasized that Marsh had not previously shown any signs of antisemitism before the attacks. The guilty plea comes amid a rise in antisemitism nationwide, as reported by the ADL following the Israel-Hamas conflict. Last year, New Jersey alone experienced 408 antisemitic incidents, including nine assaults, according to the ADL. The FBI, in collaboration with local police, conducted the investigation which led to Marsh’s guilty plea.
Philip R. Selinger, the U.S. Attorney on the case, stated, “The threat from hate-fueled violence is a sad reality across our state and our nation. That hate is not who we are.” The guilty plea serves as a reminder of the prevalence of hate crimes and the importance of addressing them within communities.