Ocean County Prosecutor Bradley D. Billhimer announced that Jamal Preston, 25, of Egg Harbor Township, was charged with Attempted Murder in violation of N.J.S.A. 2C:5-1 and N.J.S.A. 2C:11-3a(1), as well as four counts of Aggravated Arson in violation of N.J.S.A. 2C:17-1a.

On August 22, 2020, the Lakewood Township Police Department responded to a report of a fire at a residence in Lakewood.  An investigation by 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, determined that the fire had been intentionally set utilizing an ignitable liquid and an open flame.  Further investigation determined that Preston did, in fact, intentionally set the fire while the residence was occupied by three individuals.  Preston was arrested by the United States Marshals Service on August 31, 2020, and is currently lodged in the Ocean County Jail pending a detention hearing.

Prosecutor Billhimer would like to acknowledge the Ocean County Prosecutor’s Office Major Crime Unit-Arson Squad, Ocean County Prosecutor’s Office High Tech Crime Unit, Lakewood Township Police Department, Lakewood Township Police Department Detective Bureau, Ocean County Sheriff’s Office Crime Scene Investigation Unit, Ocean County Fire Marshals Office, New Jersey State Fire Marshals K-9 Unit, United States Marshals Service, Egg Harbor Township Police Department Detective Bureau, Berkeley Township Police Department Detective Bureau, and South Toms River Police Department, for their collaborative efforts in this investigation leading to Preston’s arrest.

The press and public are reminded that all defendants are presumed innocent unless and until proven guilty beyond a reasonable doubt in a court of law.