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Nov 18, 2022

Local Man Convicted at Trial of Bias-Driven Murder of Stranger

A Monmouth County Jury has returned guilty verdicts on the most serious charges against the man who attacked and killed a stranger in Freehold Township four and a half years ago, solely because of the victim’s race, Acting Monmouth County Prosecutor Raymond S. Santiago announced Friday.  

Following an approximately seven-week trial before Monmouth County Superior Court Judge Lourdes Lucas, 30-year-old Jamil Hubbard of Sayreville was convicted of first-degree Murder, first-degree Bias Intimidation, second-degree Eluding, third-degree Theft from the Person, third-degree Possession of a Weapon for an Unlawful Purpose, and third-degree Motor Vehicle Theft, all in connection with the death of 56-year-old Jerry Wolkowitz. 

At approximately 7:15 am on the morning of Tuesday, May 1, 2018, members of the Freehold Township Police Department and other first responders rushed to the Chesterfield Apartments on Harding Road on a report of a physical altercation involving a person struck by a vehicle. At that location they found Wolkowitz in the apartment complex’s parking lot, having sustained severe injuries to his head, abdomen, and back. Wolkowitz was subsequently rushed to Jersey Shore University Medical Center for emergency treatment. 

Missing from the parking lot was Wolkowitz’s vehicle, a Kia Forte, which Hubbard was later found to have stolen. Hubbard then led police on a pursuit, refusing to obey commands to pull over, until it was terminated due to high speeds and out of concern for public safety. Minutes later, the Kia was found abandoned on Bordentown Avenue in Sayreville, and Hubbard was arrested by members of the Sayreville Police Department without incident at his home in the nearby Winding Wood Apartments. 

An investigation involving numerous members of the MCPO Major Crimes Bureau, Freehold Township Police Department, and Sayreville Police Department later revealed that Hubbard was in the area that morning because he had slept in his vehicle overnight, having engaged in an argument with his ex-girlfriend, a resident of the apartment complex, the night before. When he woke up, he told investigators, he spotted Wolkowitz walking nearby and decided to try to kill him because he was white, initially attacking him from behind with punches and kicks before stealing his wallet and car keys. He also told investigators he dragged the victim into the parking lot and ran him over. 

Wolkowitz, a longtime member of the Freehold First Aid and Emergency Squad and a freelance photographer, remained hospitalized in a coma until he died due to his injuries on Thursday, October 18, 2018. A Monmouth County Grand Jury returned a seven-count indictment against Hubbard in March 2019. 

Hubbard’s prosecution was handled by Monmouth County Assistant Prosecutors Hoda Soliman and Keri Schaefer, who presented evidence at trial refuting an attempted insanity defense, showing that Hubbard’s conduct was intentional, knowing, and deliberate. 

“This was the textbook definition of a senseless crime, and as our prosecuting team astutely noted in their closing argument, ‘senseless’ does not mean ‘insane,’” Acting Prosecutor Santiago said. “Mr. Wolkowitz was an innocent victim, minding his own business and on his way home from work, when his life was snuffed out over something as trivial as the color of his skin. Such a monstrous act necessitates that justice be served, and we sincerely thank the jury in this case for carefully weighing the evidence and reaching the appropriate conclusion.” 

Sentencing in the case has been scheduled for March 31, 2023, at which time Hubbard will face a term of up to life in prison without the possibility of parole. 

Hubbard was represented at trial by Allison Friedman, Esq. and Katherine M. Caola, Esq.