Ocean County Prosecutor Bradley D. Billhimer announced that on January 11, 2024, Raphael Powell, 37, of Toms River, was found guilty of Possession of a Weapon for an Unlawful Purpose, Being a Certain Person Not to Possess a Firearm, Unlawful Possession of a Handgun having previously been convicted of a No Early Release Act (NERA) Offense, Terroristic Threats, Possession of Hollow Nose Bullets, Possession of a Large Capacity Magazine, and Possession of Fentanyl, all in connection with an incident that occurred in Toms River Township on July 2, 2022. After a week-long jury trial before the Honorable Guy P. Ryan, P.J.Cr.P., the jury concluded beyond a reasonable doubt that Powell threatened to shoot and kill a male victim with a handgun in Toms River on the date in question. Powell has been lodged in the Ocean County Jail since the date of his apprehension – July 3, 2022. At the time of his sentencing on March 1, 2024, Powell faces a sentence of 20 years to life in New Jersey State Prison.
On July 2, 2022, at approximately 11:00 p.m., Officers from the Toms River Township Police Department were dispatched to assist a male victim who had just been assaulted. Responding Officers met with the victim, who advised that he was entering a residence on Rory Road when a male approached him and asked him what he was doing in the area. The male suspect then punched the victim in the face and removed a handgun from his waistband. The male suspect pointed the handgun at the victim and threatened to kill him. Another male then appeared at the scene and the victim was able to leave the area.
An investigation conducted by the Toms River Township Police Department determined that Powell was the individual who struck and threatened the victim with the handgun on July 2, 2022. Toms River Township Police Officers located Powell outside of his residence in Toms River in the early morning hours of July 3, 2022, and he was taken into custody without incident. Powell was searched incident to his arrest, and found to be in possession of a stolen handgun loaded with 17 rounds of hollow nose bullets. Powell was also found to be in possession of 30 wax folds of Fentanyl at the time of his arrest. Powell was arrested and transported to the Ocean County Jail, where he has remained lodged since July 3, 2022.
Prosecutor Billhimer commends the diligence and dedication of Assistant Prosecutor Kimberly Carr who ably and skillfully tried the case on behalf of the State. The Prosecutor likewise extends his gratitude to the Toms River Township Police Department and Berkeley Township Police Department for their combined and collective efforts in connection with this matter, leading to Powell’s swift apprehension – and ultimately resulting in today’s guilty verdicts.