HOWELL – A Howell man admitted to sending threatening messages via Facebook about going to Lakewood and hitting Orthodox Jewish people with a baseball bat.
Anthony Lodespoto, 43, of Howell was charged with 2nd degree Terroristic Threats for statements made through direct messages to individuals through Facebook. He had threatened to go to Lakewood to assault members of the Jewish community with a baseball bat. The New Jersey State Police informed local officers that he also sent a similar message to the Facebook account of Governor Phil Murphy.
He plead guilty to bias intimidation on Aug. 7. His sentencing is scheduled for Sept. 25. The State is seeking a sentence of 180 days in the Ocean County Jail as a condition of probation.
The incidents of intimidation happened in March, when the coronavirus shutdown was just starting. He had accused the Orthodox community of not complying with the statewide executive order not to hold parties or other social events.
Lodespoto was arrested at his Dutch Valley Road home without incident, police said.
First Assistant Prosecutor Nolan would like to acknowledge the fine work 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 collaborative efforts in securing this plea.