The 42-year-old man accused of the recent violent
home invasion in Millburn appeared in court for the first time Tuesday morning where his attorney entered a not
guilty plea for his client.
Shawn Custis has been charged with first-degree attempted murder, first-degree robbery, second-degree burglary and two counts of endangering the welfare of a child, according to Kathy Carter, a spokeswoman for the prosecutor's office.
“We believe it was his intent to kill the woman,” Chief Assistant Prosecutor Thomas Fennelly said.
Custis briefly appeared in Newark Veteran’s Court Tuesday, quietly responding to Judge Peter J. Vazquez in Essex County Veterans Courthouse at about 9:40 a.m.
His attorney, Sterling Kinsale, entered a plea of not guilty. Custis’ bail remains at $750,000 and he was transported to Essex County Jail. Vazquez also ordered him to have no contact with the victim.
The 42-year-old was arrested without incident Friday just
after 5:30 p.m. in the lobby of an apartment building in the 3,000-block
Street in New York City, Chief of Detectives Anthony Ambrose said. His arrest came about an hour after authorities identified him as the
Authorities declined to comment why Custis was at this address or if he was with someone.
According to Carter, Custis was living in New York City, but the address is unknown. The last known address for Custis is Newark.
Custis was wanted in connection with the home invasion in Millburn where a man kicked down the locked back door of a Cypress Street home just after 10 a.m. on June 21 and "viciously" assaulted the woman for more than three minutes. The entire assault was captured on a nanny cam.
According to Fennelly, the video is a large part of the evidence in the week-long investigation.
“The video shows what a violent crime looks like,” Acting Essex County Prosecutor Carolyn Murray said. “We have a tremendous amount of violent crime in Essex County, but when people in the community see what it really looks like that’s why we got the outpouring of assistance that we did.”
Custis, who has 12 felony convictions and a record dating back to the early 90s, was released from jail just over six months ago where he served a 10-month stint for a series of burglaries, according to NJ.com.
Authorities declined to comment on Custis' previous convictions.
Murray thanked the residents of Essex County who helped the Millburn Police along with the Essex County Prosecutor’s Office and FBI arrest Custis.
The reward for the intruder was increased to more than $20,000 with contributions from local residents, business owners and Sen. Richard Codey.
Millburn Lt. Keith Laverty led the investigation with three other local officers, according to Capt. Michael Palardy.
The Millburn woman was taken to the hospital for injuries to her face and leg. She suffered a concussion and was released a day after the incident.“The family is trying to move on," Murray said.