Aggravated Assault in Branch Brook Park

Aggravated Assault in Branch Brook Park

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July 15, 2017

Contact: Sheriff Armando Fontoura (973) 621-4105

Newark – A male suspect with a lengthy criminal history was arrested last night by Essex County sheriff’s detectives and charged with the brutal attack on a 34-year-old female victim at Branch Brook Park in the late Saturday evening/early Sunday morning hours of July 8 – 9, 2017.

Sheriff Armando Fontoura stated that the suspect, John T. Wilson, 56, was released from South Woods State Prison in Bridgeton, N. J. for a 1999 Essex County manslaughter conviction and was still on parole after serving 17 years of a maximum 20-year sentence.  The suspect was tracked to a halfway house on Newark’s Fulton Street where he was taken into custody without incident.

Wilson has been charged with attempted murder and aggravated assault.

“Our parks are safe havens for our residents and their children,” the sheriff noted.  “Our department took this crime personally and invested every resource at our disposal to solve this vicious attack.”

“We commend our detectives who operated under the supervision of Captain Vito D’Alessio and the Essex County Prosecutor’s Special Victims Unit which assisted us throughout this investigation,” Sheriff Fontoura said.  “Bringing this case to a quick and successful conclusion entailed good old fashioned police work and modern technology.  We knocked on every door, followed every lead and gained our biggest break through video surveillance cameras in the area which revealed the suspect and the victim walking together on the night of the crime.”

Fontoura added that Wilson had been on parole for one year and one day before the attack which took place just yards away from the New Jersey Light Rail Station on Heller Parkway.

Wilson was lodged at the county jail where he awaits a bail hearing on today’s charges.