Monmouth County Jury Convicts Asbury Park Man of Aggravated Sexual Assault, Armed Robbery, and Other Charges
September 30, 2023
FREEHOLD – In a significant development, a Monmouth County Jury has rendered convictions against Shawn Connolly, a 36-year-old Asbury Park man. The charges stem from an incident that occurred over two years ago when Connolly broke into a stranger’s home, threatened and robbed two occupants at knifepoint, and sexually assaulted one of them. Monmouth County Prosecutor Raymond S. Santiago made the announcement on Friday.
The jury found Connolly guilty of several serious offenses, including first-degree Aggravated Sexual Assault, first-degree Armed Robbery, second-degree Burglary, second-degree Sexual Assault, third-degree Making Terroristic Threats, and three related weapons offenses.
The incident took place on September 14, 2021, shortly before 5:30 a.m. The Asbury Park Police Department responded to a 911 call from a home on 7th Avenue. Upon arrival, they apprehended Connolly without incident and discovered the proceeds from the robbery in his pockets.
An extensive investigation conducted by the Prosecutor’s Office and the Asbury Park Police Department revealed that Connolly had entered the victims’ bedroom while they were asleep, brandishing a knife and threatening to harm them. He gained entry through a kitchen window. During the course of the robbery, Connolly sexually assaulted the female victim after instructing the male victim to leave the room and retrieve cash. The male victim, following Connolly’s orders, also dialed 911 and left the line open.
In November 2021, Connolly was indicted for his actions, leading to the trial that took place earlier this month. The trial spanned a little over two weeks and was presided over by Monmouth County Superior Court Judge Henry P. Butehorn. Yesterday afternoon, the jury returned with guilty verdicts.
Prosecutor Santiago expressed satisfaction with the outcome, stating, “Yesterday’s verdict was the result of prompt action by the Asbury Park Police Department, a thorough investigation, and an exemplary prosecution. The facts that emerged during the trial were deeply disturbing, and we are pleased that the jury reached the appropriate conclusion, securing justice for the victims and the community as a whole.”
Monmouth County Assistant Prosecutors Keri Schaefer and Christopher Ammon successfully tried the case, while Connolly was represented by John M. Murphy III, Esq., from Staten Island.
Connolly now faces the possibility of a life sentence in state prison. The sentencing date has yet to be determined. Additionally, Connolly has another pending case related to a separate home invasion that occurred in Asbury Park on the same night as the aforementioned incident.
In other news, the Department of Justice has reached a settlement in a lawsuit against Jackson Township. The lawsuit alleged that the township had enacted discriminatory ordinances targeting Orthodox Jewish religious schools. The settlement details have not been disclosed at this time.