An 85-year-old Asbury Park man has been sentenced to 10 years in a New Jersey state prison for a fatal hit-and-run crash, authorities said.
Johnny Westbrook had admitted to running over a neighbor after they fought over an ex-girlfriend, according to Acting Monmouth County Prosecutor Lori Linskey.
During a pre-trial hearing, Westbrook admitted to stalking the victim -- 63-year-old Daniel Rivera -- striking him with his Ford Explorer and dragging him several feet before leaving him to die, prosecutors said.
Westbrook must serve at least 85 percent of his sentence before becoming eligible for parole, under the terms of New Jersey’s No Early Release Act. Westbrook was sentenced on Monday by Monmouth County Superior Court Judge Ellen Torregrossa-O’Connor.
Westbrook had pleaded guilty to first-degree aggravated manslaughter in July.
During the plea hearing, Westbrook admitted that on Dec. 21, 2018, he drove his Explorer to a local liquor store where Rivera, a neighbor in the adjacent Dr. Robinson Towers apartment building. had just gone, Linskey said.
After Rivera left the store, Westbrook admitted driving along a sidewalk and striking the victim before leaving him in the roadway, the prosecutor said.
Westbrook acknowledged that his actions resulted in the victim’s death, according to Linskey.
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 a month before the homicide due to Westbrook’s jealousy over the victim’s friendship with a woman, the prosecutor said.
Westbrook immediately fled the scene after fatally striking Rivera with his vehicle and returned to his apartment, Linsky said. Police ultimately discovered Westbrook’s SUV parked a few hundred feet from the crime scene, with the victim’s blood and hair found on the vehicle’s undercarriage, she said.
Monmouth County Assistant Prosecutor Joseph Cummings handled the case.
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