Wannabe Hitman Gets 20 Years For Attempted Murder In W. Orange

A 23-year-old Edison man who shot at a West Orange resident and claimed there was a “bounty” on the victim was sentenced this week to 20 years in prison, the Essex County Prosecutor’s Office said.

John Searles
John Searles Photo Credit: Essex County Prosecutor's Office

On Sept. 22, 2016, the victim returned to his Lowell Place home from his daughter’s back-to-school night when John Searles, who was wearing a ski mask, emerged from the driveway and ran towards him, firing multiple shots. The victim was not hit.

The victim rushed Searles, tackled him, grabbed Searles’ 9 mm Ruger and threw it into a neighboring yard, authorities said.

As they fought, Searles said to the victim, “You have a $20,000 bounty on your head,” the victim told police.

A second person tried to separate the two and then fled with Searles in a black Nissan Altima. The identity of that person is unknown, authorities said this week.

Searles was found guilty of attempted murder and weapons offenses at a trial in June. He must serve at least 85 percent of his sentence before he is eligible for parole. 

to follow Daily Voice Essex and receive free news updates.