An Egg Harbor Township man who intentionally set a Lakewood home on fire, with people inside, in August of 2020 has been indicted by a Grand Jury in Ocean County.

Ocean County Prosecutors Office. (Vin Ebenau, Townsquare Media NJ)
Ocean County Prosecutors Office. (Vin Ebenau, Townsquare Media NJ)

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Ocean County Prosecutor Bradley Billhimer announced the indictment Thursday of 26-year old Jamal Preston for Attempted Murder and four counts of Aggravated Arson in connection with the fire at a home in Lakewood on August 22, 2020.

Lakewood Police responded to the fire first on that Saturday and as the investigation continued alongside the Ocean County Prosecutor’s Office Major Crime Unit-Arson Squad, Ocean County Sheriff’s Office Crime Scene Investigation Unit, Ocean County Fire Marshals Office, and New Jersey State Fire Marshals K-9 Unit, it was learned that the fire was intentionally set "utilizing an ignitable liquid and an open flame."

As the OCPO, Lakewood Police and responding agencies continued the investigation, it led them to identifying Preston as the suspect who torched a home that had three people inside the residence.

He had fled the scene and was arrested at a motel in Absecon by the U.S. Marshals Service on August 31.

Preston has been in the Ocean County Jail since his arrest.

Prosecutor Billhimer said that Senior Assistant Ocean County Prosecutor Meghan O’Neill is handling the case on behalf of the State.

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