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Posted Wednesday, May 23rd, 2018

Morris County Prosecutor Fredric M. Knapp announced yesterday, May 22, 2018, that a Morris County jury found Melvin Hester, 35, of Newark,  guilty of one count of third degree Aggravated Assault on a Law Enforcement Official.

Morris County Prosecutor's logoThe jury returned its verdict after deliberating on Tuesday, May 22, 2018. Superior Court Judge Catherine I. Enright presided over the trial. This matter is scheduled for sentencing before the Judge Enright on July 20.

This prosecution stemmed from a 2016 incident in which the defendant forced his cell door open during a formal inmate count, and assaulted a corrections officer by punching him in the face. The defendant had been lodged in the Morris County Correctional Facility following an arrest on Jan. 4, 2016.

Hester faces up to five years in New Jersey State Prison on the third-degree Aggravated Assault on a Law Enforcement Official.

Assistant Prosecutor Gloria Rispoli and Assistant Prosecutor Tara Wang, assigned to the General Investigations Unit of the Morris County Prosecutor’s Office, represented the state during the trial.

Prosecutor Knapp stated: An unprovoked assault upon any law enforcement officer, such as occurred here and as found by the jury, is an egregious offense which threatens the security and well-being of everyone in the correctional facility. The officers involved should be commended for their professionalism and restraint”.

Knapp specifically thanked Agent Lois Aria of the Morris County Prosecutor’s Office and the Morris County Sheriff’s Office Bureau of Corrections for their continued exceptional work.

Inquiries should be directed to Public Information Officer Peter DiGennaro at [email protected] or 973-829-8159.