FREEHOLD – An 85-year-old man admitted his role in the 2018 death of a fellow Asbury Park resident, announced Acting Monmouth County Prosecutor Lori Linskey.
Johnny Westbrook, of Asbury Park, pleaded guilty on Friday, July 9, 2021, to first-degree Aggravated Manslaughter before Monmouth County Superior Court Judge Ellen Torregrossa-O’Connor. He faces up to 10 years in prison, with 8.5 years parole ineligibility, when he returns for sentencing on August 19.
At his plea, Westbrook admitted that on December 21, 2018, he drove his 1998 Ford Explorer to the area of a local store where the victim, 63-year old Daniel Rivera, a fellow tenant in his building, had gone. Westbrook then waited outside the store in his vehicle for several minutes. At that point, Westbrook admitted, after the victim left the store, he drove along the sidewalk area, struck the victim, and dragged him several feet, before leaving the victim in the roadway. Westbrook acknowledged that his actions resulted in the victim’s death.
A joint investigation by the Monmouth County Prosecutor’s Office and the Asbury Park Police Department revealed that Westbrook and the victim had been involved in a physical altercation a little more than one month before the homicide due to Westbrook’s jealousy over the victim’s friendship with a woman. That animosity culminated in Westbrook’s actions of running the victim down while he was walking home the week before Christmas. Westbrook immediately fled the scene and returned to his apartment. Police ultimately discovered Westbrook’s SUV parked a few hundred feet from the crime scene with the victim’s blood and hair on the bottom of the vehicle.
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