Ocean County Man Indicted In Shooting Death

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FREEHOLD – A Brick Township man and two others were indicted in the fatal shooting of an Asbury Park man Thanksgiving Eve 2017.

Vernon Sanders, 34, of Brick, was charged with first-degree conspiracy to commit murder, first-degree murder and second-degree possession of a firearm for an unlawful purpose. He was also charged with second-degree unlawful possession of a weapon and second-degree certain persons not to possess weapons.

Two other men, Steven J. Taylor, 36, and Avery Hopes, 23, both of Asbury Park, were also indicted on charges.

The men were charged in connection with the fatal shooting of 27-year-old Barnegat man Denzel Morgan-Hicks on Nov. 22, 2017. Hicks was found with multiple gunshot wounds in the front driver’s side seat of a 2017 Ford Expedition on Prospect Avenue in Asbury Park.

An investigation lead authorities to Sanders, Taylor and Hopes.

A murder conviction carries a 30-year minimum prison sentence without parole. The other charges carry sentence times of 10-20 years each.

Monmouth County Assistant Prosecutor Matthew Bogner has been assigned to the case.

Sanders is represented by Emeka Nkwuo, Esq., of Freehold; Taylor is represented by Carlos Diaz-Cobo Esq., of New Brunswick; and Hopes is represented by Glenn Kassman Esq., of Point Pleasant Beach.