A man who attacked and killed a stranger in a Freehold Township parking lot nearly five years ago, solely motivated by the victim’s race, has been sentenced to life in prison plus an additional 35 years for the crime, Monmouth County Prosecutor Raymond S. Santiago announced Wednesday.
Jamil Hubbard, 30, of Sayreville was sentenced Tuesday afternoon by Monmouth County Superior Court Judge Lourdes Lucas for causing the death of 56-year-old Jerry Wolkowitz.
At approximately 7:15 a.m. on the morning of Tuesday, May 1, 2018, members of the Freehold Township Police Department and other first responders rushed to the Chesterfield Apartments on Harding Road on a report of a physical altercation involving a person struck by a vehicle. At that location they found Wolkowitz in the apartment complex’s parking lot, having sustained severe injuries to his head, abdomen, and back. Wolkowitz was subsequently transported to Jersey Shore University Medical Center for emergency treatment.
Missing from the parking lot was Wolkowitz’s vehicle, a Kia Forte, which Hubbard was later found to have stolen. Hubbard then led police on a pursuit, refusing to obey commands to pull over, until it was terminated due to high speeds and out of concern for public safety. Minutes later, the Kia was found abandoned on Bordentown Avenue in Sayreville, and Hubbard was arrested by members of the Sayreville Police Department without incident at his home in the nearby Winding Wood Apartments.
An investigation involving numerous members of the MCPO Major Crimes Bureau, Freehold Township Police Department, and Sayreville Police Department later revealed that Hubbard was in the area that morning because he had slept in his vehicle overnight, having engaged in an argument with his ex-girlfriend, a resident of the apartment complex, the night before.
When he woke up, he told investigators, he spotted Wolkowitz walking nearby and decided to try to kill him because he was white, initially attacking him from behind with punches and kicks before stealing his wallet and car keys.
He also told investigators he dragged the victim into the parking lot and ran him over with the defendant’s car.
Wolkowitz, a longtime member of the Freehold First Aid and Emergency Squad and a freelance photographer, remained hospitalized in a coma until he died due to his injuries on Thursday, October 18, 2018
. A Monmouth County Grand Jury returned an indictment against Hubbard in March 2019.
Hubbard’s prosecution was handled by Monmouth County Assistant Prosecutors Hoda Soliman and Keri Schaefer, who presented evidence during a seven-week trial refuting an attempted insanity defense, showing that Hubbard’s conduct was intentional, knowing, and deliberate.
At the conclusion of the trial, in November 2022, the jury convicted him of first-degree Murder, first-degree Bias Intimidation, second-degree Eluding, third-degree Theft from the Person, third-degree Possession of a Weapon for an Unlawful Purpose, and third-degree Motor Vehicle Theft.
Judge Lucas yesterday ordered that Hubbard serve a life term for the murder conviction, 25 years for the bias conviction, and 10 years for the eluding conviction, with all three terms to run consecutively to each other. During the sentencing hearing, three of Wolkowitz’s siblings and his fiancée either read statements into the record or had their remarks read into the record on their behalf. In addition, a statement by the victim’s now-deceased mother was read into the record by a family member.
Judge Lucas remarked on the case’s extreme brutality, which prompted an obvious need for deterrence.
“Racism has no place in our community. The evidence demonstrated this brutal attack was a targeted one, based on race, and such abhorrent behavior cannot be tolerated. Yesterday’s sentencing constituted an unambiguous message regarding this notion,” Prosecutor Santiago said. “There is no place in civilized society for those who commit such acts, and the only appropriate reckoning in cases such as these is their permanent removal from society. We hope that yesterday’s proceedings offered a measure of solace for the many individuals who so clearly loved and respected Mr. Wolkowitz so deeply.”