Statement Of Prosecutor Marlene Lynch Ford On The Jury’s Verdict In State Vs. Jahmell Crockam

Ocean County Prosecutor Marlene Lynch Ford issued the following statement today following the jury’s finding of guilty on all counts in State vs. Crockam, involving the death of Lakewood Police Officer Christopher Matlosz: “What you just observed happen here at the Ocean County Court House is an event that is both extraordinary yet routinely ordinary. The verdict of a jury. An action repeated time and time again in court houses throughout NJ and the United States. Each day.

It represents in one sense the culmination of a system of justice that is unique in the world in which we live, established by the founders of the country in a constitution that is weighted at all steps in favor of the accused.

It is ironic that this defendant’s contact with Officer Matlosz was associated with his own contempt for court, the outstanding warrant for failure to appear in court, on other charges.

Yet he had the opportunity to be protected by a fully array of rights guaranteed to all defendants in criminal proceedings.

From the time of the initial investigation throughout the prosecution process, this defendant was treated with dignity. When emotions were running high after a brutal and senseless murder, he was arrested and not harmed.

He was housed in an appropriate facility; he had access to a law library; he was fed three times per day; he was not abused while in detention; he had the opportunity to talk to his family; to consult with competent legal counsel, guaranteed by our constitution; he had the right to remain silent; he was not obliged to offer a defense to the charges, the burden remaining at all times with the state to prove these charges beyond any reasonable doubt.

He had the right to have a trial, to confront through counsel witnesses, to test their credibility—to confront his accusers. The people of this state provided him with an attorney experienced in the law, competent in the court rooms, and who challenged the evidence presented by the State.

A jury of 12 disinterested and anonymous citizens were picked. They decided his fate. Not police officers, not legal scholars, not elected officials. Just 12 people from the community who were asked to sit, hear the evidence and for a minimal amount of compensation –which hardly paid for a babysitter, or compensated for time lost from work, or perhaps even bought a decent lunch—they were asked and they did make a fair, just and impartial decision on this case.

We believe the defendant was afforded a fair trial, and that the verdict represents a just verdict.

Throughout this process, law enforcement remained silent. The family, friends, colleagues and loved ones of Chris Matlosz remained silent, in deference to a system of justice in which we are all obliged to guarantee that the defendant received a fair, just and impartial trial on the merits of the case against him.

Now the 12 citizens have spoken. And in a few weeks the court will hear for the first time the voices left behind in this defendant’s violent wake.

Of Jane Calao, a mother who will not see her son marry, raise a family, succeed and fail at the challenges we all face in our lives;

Of Kelly Walsifer, a strong young woman whose future was erased in an instant through an act of incomprehensible violence.

Of Adam Matlosz, a brother who became an only child. Adam will not experience and share the joys and the sorrows of his life with his only brother.

Of police officers from Lakewood and throughout this state, who know that Chris was a surrogate for all of them, that he was killed for no other reason but that he wore a badge and a uniform.

And for every person touched by this event, who will be forever changed, more guarded, a little more bitter that while the system of justice has served us well, it will not be closure, it will not heal this wound, it will not change the memory of what happened, here in Lakewood NJ, 398 days ago.

The defendant will return to his home where his basic needs will be met, because we live in a civilized society. He will no doubt file appeals, make applications to the court, will visit with his family members. He will have the opportunity to consult with experienced and competent legal counsel, paid for by the public.

The prosecutors, the judge, the police officers and the public will soon file this event in their own banks of memory. We will move on with our lives.

But for those who were family or equivalent to family to Chris Matlosz, this process does little to bring closure to their pain. Tomorrow they will continue, like any other day, to confront their day feeling a terrible sense of loss. For all their tomorrows, they will wake first to that loss.” TLS.

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  1. i wish death upon this convicted killer. he robbed kelly of the love of her life. he robbed lakewood of a great police officer. he robbed chris’s mom of a son.

    Rest In Piece Chris.
    Kelly, i wish you strength & eternal happiness. You are a strong woman. Keep fighting.

  2. Well Spoken ~Statement Of Prosecutor Marlene Lynch Ford
    While I have read some postings after the verdict this says it all , sadly this will not be the last homicide we will read about or hear on the news. We can only hope that some day there will not only be peace among nations but also right hear in our country where it will be a rare day to hear about such a travesty that has taken the life of this police officer. It is puzzling to even think what goes through the mind of someone who commits such a violent act, how bad can life be that you have to resort to taking anothers life . I have a real hard time comprehending the hatred that flows through someone that would commit such a devious crime.
    May better days be ahead for all those who were touched by this senseless act now that justice was served

  3. Ms. Lynch Ford,
    Your words were powerful, well stated & heart felt. And it is comforting to know that such a terrible person is off the streets of our society. May Kelly & Adam find peace in their hearts now and move on to live a normal life happily as possible, holing Chris in their hearts and memories always. Justice has been served. Chris, your are always in our hearts, our minds & prayers.

  4. I’m with Seneator Singer on this one. The (moderated) deserves the death penalty. Plain and Simple.

    Madam Prosecuter thank you for a job well done.

  5. Eloquently spoken, Ms. Ford! Thank you for the reminder about our judicial system. Thank you for speaking truthfully about the integrity of these jurors! These jurors were dedicated God-fearing citizens, who had no personal agenda but to deliberate the task set before them, for the common good of all. In an age when “good” citizens refuse to serve on jury duty, because it is an “inconvenience” to their lifestyle, these jurors deserve our highest respect. We kept silent because we know, no one can hide from God, whatever the verdict.

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