Ocean County Prosecutor Bradley D. Billhimer announced that on September 25, 2020, Anthony Lodespoto, 43, of Howell, was sentenced by the Honorable Guy P. Ryan, J.S.C., to 180 days in the Ocean County Jail as a condition of eighteen months non-custodial probation relative to his previously entered guilty plea to Bias Intimidation in violation of N.J.S.A. 2C:16-1. Lodespoto pled guilty to the offense before Judge Ryan on August 10, 2020, and has been lodged in the Ocean County Jail since his arrest on March 27, 2020.
On March 26, 2020, the Lakewood Township Police Department Detective Bureau was made aware that Lodespoto had made threatening statements by way of the direct messaging feature of Facebook against the Jewish community of Lakewood. On March 27, 2020, Detectives were informed by members of the New Jersey State Police that Lodespoto sent a similar message to the Facebook account of New Jersey Governor Phil Murphy. The threats largely consisted of Lodespoto threatening to travel to Lakewood with the purpose of assaulting members of the Jewish community with a baseball bat.
Prosecutor Billhimer is grateful for the efforts of Assistant Prosecutor Shanon Chant-Berry who handled the case on behalf of the State, as well as the Lakewood Township Police Department Detective Bureau and New Jersey State Police for their collective assistance in this investigation which ultimately resulted in Lodespoto’s conviction and sentence.