MANCHESTER – Thomas Hatchett, 88, of Manchester, pleaded guilty to aggravated manslaughter, and will face at least 8.5 years in prison.
Hatchett shot Igal Hedad, 71, of Fort Lauderdale, Florida, on July 1, 2019. Hedad had been found face down in the street in front of a home in Manchester. He was bleeding from his head and had gunshot wounds in his back. He was pronounced dead at the scene.
The home was investigated by the Ocean County Prosecutor’s Office Regional SWAT Team, who found it empty. The owner, Hatchett, used to live in Verona. That town’s police found Hatchett. He has been in the Ocean County Jail since his arrest.
“This was really a senseless act of violence. Hatchett has accepted responsibility for his brutal and inhumane conduct, and he will be sentenced accordingly to state prison for a very long time,” Prosecutor Bradley Billhimer stated.
His sentencing is scheduled before Judge Michael T. Collins on December 18. He faces between ten and 30 years, and is subject to the No Early Release Act, which means he must serve at least 85 percent of his sentence.
“Any sentence Judge Collins decides to impose will amount to a life sentence given this defendant’s age. Hatchett will spend the rest of his life behind bars, and deservedly so,” Prosecutor Billhimer concluded.
Billhimer thanked Senior Assistant Prosecutor Meghan O’Neill who handled the case on behalf of the State, as well as the collaborative efforts of 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.