South Toms River man pleads guilty in drive-by shooting death of Beachwood man
A South Toms River man has plead guilty to being responsible in the death of a Beachwood man in June of 2015 by shooting him in the chest as the victim sat in his car.
Ocean County Prosecutor Bradley Billhimer announced the guilty plea to Aggravated Manslaughter Monday of Marcus Samuels, 32, who also pled guilty to Conspiracy to Commit Witness Tampering as well as an unrelated charge of Aggravated Assault stemming from an incident that occurred in Seaside Heights on May 3, 2015.
When Samuels is sentenced next month, Prosecutor Billhimer said that the State will recommend a term of ten years in New Jersey State Prison subject to the terms of the No Early Release Act for the Aggravated Manslaughter charge, as well as ten years on the Conspiracy to Commit Witness Tampering charge and five years on the Aggravated Assault charge, all of which will run concurrently.
Detectives from the Ocean County Prosecutor’s Office Major Crime Unt Detectives and South Toms River Police Officers responded to Community Medical Center in Toms River on June 8, 2015 for a report of a male having suffered a gunshot wound to the chest.
The male was identified to be 27-year old Willie Love, who later died due to the extent of his injuries.
The OCPO M.C.U. and STRPD learned through their investigation that Samuels pulled up in a 2004 Dodge Nitro alongside a vehicle Love was driving with three passengers.
"Samuels then recklessly fired a handgun into Mr. Love’s vehicle, striking Mr. Love, which led to his death," Billhimer said.
Samuels turned himself in in the presence of his attorney four days later and has been lodged in the Ocean County Jail ever since.
That didn't stop him from trying to alter the outcome of his trial.
Billhimer said that while Samuels was in the Ocean County Jail pending trial, "he conspired with other inmates to influence a witness into retracting or changing a statement previously provided to law enforcement in connection with the investigation."
Ocean County Supervising Assistant Prosecutor William Porter and Assistant Prosecutor Stephen Burke handled this case on behalf of the State.