MANCHESTER – A ten-year sentence in New Jersey State Prison could be a life sentence for 88-year-old township man Thomas Hatchett.
Hatchett’s sentence is subject to the terms of the No Early Release Act, which means he has to serve at least 85 percent of his sentence before being eligible for parole.
He pled guilty to Aggravated Manslaughter in the July 1, 2019 death of Igal Hedad, 71, of Fort Lauderdale, Florida. Police found him lying face down in the street in front of Hatchett’s house with gunshot wounds to his back. He was pronounced dead at the scene.
The Ocean County Prosecutor’s Office Regional SWAT Team gained entry to the house but it was empty. Hatchett was found by Verona police at a residence he maintained in that town. He has been in jail ever since.
“Hatchett committed a brutal and senseless act on July 1, 2019. For all intents and purposes, given this defendant’s advanced age, the prison term imposed by Judge Collins is tantamount to a life sentence,” Ocean County Prosecutor Bradley Billhimer said. “Hatchett will most likely spend the balance of his remaining days exactly where he belongs – behind bars. Our hope is that this sentence affords the family of Mr. Hedad some level of peace and closure.”
Billhimer acknowledged Senior Assistant Prosecutor Meghan O’Neill who handled the case on behalf of the State. He also thanked the Ocean County Prosecutor’s Office Major Crime Unit, Ocean County Prosecutor’s Office Regional SWAT Team, Ocean County Prosecutor’s Office Victim Witness Advocacy Unit, Manchester Township Police Department, Ocean County Sheriff’s Office Crime Scene Investigation Unit, and Verona Police Department.