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Long Branch Man Charged In 2006 Asbury Park Murder

The following is a press release from the Monmouth County Prosecutor's Office:

Investigators have arrested and charged a Long Branch man for the 2006 murder of an Asbury Park man found shot to death on a Dewitt Avenue sidewalk, announced Acting Monmouth County Prosecutor Christopher J. Gramiccioni.

Joey Johnson, 35, was arrested yesterday, Tuesday, Dec. 1, 2015, at his place of his employment in Freehold Township by detectives from the Monmouth County Prosecutor's Office and the Asbury Park Police Department, with assistance from law enforcement officers for the New Jersey State Parole Board. Johnson is charged for the March 26, 2006 murder of 21-year-old Jakeema Kelly, of Asbury Park, who was found fatally shot on Dewitt Avenue.

Johnson is facing charges of first degree Murder, second degree Possession of a Weapon for an Unlawful Purpose and second degree Certain Persons Not to Possess Weapons. He is being held in the Monmouth County Correctional Institution, Freehold Township, on $1.2 million cash only bail, as set by Monmouth County Superior Court Judge Honora O'Brien Kilgallen.

Johnson is scheduled for his first appearance in court at 1:30 p.m., today, Dec. 2, 2015 in the Judge Kilgallen's courtroom. The media is asked to call the Trial Court Administrator's Office at the Monmouth County Courthouse for any requests to bring a video camera, still camera or microphones into the courtroom for this court appearance by calling 732-677-4208 or 732-677-4580.

"The arrest of Joey Johnson is a testament to the hard work and perseverance of the detectives who relentlessly pursued this investigation. Over the course of time, these dedicated law enforcement officers ensured the person responsible for Jakeema Kelly's murder would be brought to justice. This Office and our local law enforcement partners will continue to vigorously pursue all leads in these cases despite the passage of time," Gramiccioni said.

A joint investigation was launched by the Monmouth County Prosecutor's Office and the Asbury Park Police Department after Asbury Park Police Officers were dispatched to 115 Dewitt Ave. on March 26, 2006, around 8:24 p.m., on a report of a gunshot victim lying on the ground. Asbury Park Police arrived to find Kelly lying on the sidewalk near the entrance to the Westside Community Center's administration building. Kelly was taken to Jersey Shore University Medical Center, Neptune Township, where he was pronounced dead at 9:21 p.m.

If convicted of Murder, Johnson faces a minimum sentence of 30 years in a New Jersey state prison without parole, and a maximum sentence of life imprisonment; subject to the provisions of the "No Early Release Act" requiring him to serve 85 percent of any sentence imposed in excess of 30 years before becoming eligible for release on parole. He would also be under parole supervision for five years if he gains release from state prison.

If convicted of Possession of a Firearm for an Unlawful Purpose, Johnson faces a maximum of 10 years imprisonment, subject to a mandatory period of parole ineligibility of the greater of either one-half of the sentence imposed or 42 months, whichever is greater. If convicted of the Certain Persons Not to Possess Weapons, he faces up to 10 years in state prison with a five-year mandatory period of parole ineligibility.

Despite these charges, every defendant is presumed innocent, unless and until found guilty beyond a reasonable doubt, following a trial at which the defendant has all of the trial rights guaranteed by the U.S. Constitution and State law.

The case is assigned to Senior Litigation Counsel John Loughrey, of the Monmouth County Prosecutor's Office.

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