Essex County sheriff’s officer says Millburn assault suspect threatened her

An Essex County sheriff’s officer testified that the man accused of attacking a Millburn woman inside a home in 2013 threatened her last month while

Millburn assault suspect Shawn Custis sits in Essex County Court.

Millburn assault suspect Shawn Custis sits in Essex County Court. (4/26/16)

NEWARK - An Essex County sheriff’s officer testified that the man accused of attacking a Millburn woman inside a home in 2013 threatened her last month while awaiting his trial.

The assault was recorded on the Millburn victim’s “nanny camera.” Shawn Custis denies that he is the man seen in the video. 

Jurors heard testimony Tuesday from the sheriff’s officer, who said that she was threatened by Custis last month while she was preparing to transfer a group of prisoners at the Essex County Jail.

“As I proceed in front of the cell, Mr. Custis is standing there with hands on bars,” the officer testified. “Then we made eye contact and he said ‘When this gate opens I’m going to bash your face in like I did the [expletive] in Millburn.’”

During cross-examination, Custis’ public defender John McMahon never tried to disprove that statement. However, he did attack the credibility of the officer, and tried to allude that the officer may have had a racial prejudice.

The judge did mention that it is unusual to allow evidence of what a suspect says to a sheriff’s officer while in jail, but since the comments allegedly mentioned the name of the town where the crime happened, the judge said that the jury can decided to accept the officer’s testimony or reject it.

The jurors were excused around 1 p.m. They are expected to resume Monday.

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