FREEHOLD – A Monmouth County jury has convicted a Keansburg man of the 2018 fatal shooting of 20-year-old Evan Smutz inside his Center Street apartment in Keyport, announced Monmouth County Prosecutor Christopher J. Gramiccioni.
John Curtin, 20, of Woodland Avenue in Keansburg, was convicted Tuesday afternoon of first degree Felony Murder, first degree Armed Robbery, first degree Aggravated Manslaughter, second degree Possession of a Weapon for an Unlawful Purpose, and second degree Unlawful Possession of a Weapon. The verdict came after a three-week trial in the courtroom of Monmouth County Superior Court Judge Marc C. LeMieux.
Keyport police responded to a 911 call on Aug. 9, 2018, at 12:48 p.m. reporting a shooting at 2 Center Street. Police arrived to find Smutz suffering from two gunshots. He was pronounced deceased at 1:21 p.m. at the scene.
A joint investigation by the Monmouth County Prosecutor’s Office and the Keyport Police Department determined that Curtin arrived at Smutz’s apartment with a fully loaded revolver to rob Smutz of marijuana and money. The robbery escalated when the defendant fired three shots at the victim, striking him twice in the abdomen and back. Curtin fled the apartment after the shooting and ultimately fled to New York. Several hours later when police made contact with Curtin by phone he agreed to turn himself in to the New York City Police Department. He was subsequently transported back to Monmouth County and ordered detained pending the trial.
Curtin is scheduled to return for sentencing on Jan. 17, 2020. He 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” (NERA) requiring him to serve 85 percent of the sentence imposed before becoming eligible for release on parole. Curtin will also be under parole supervision for five years following any release from state prison.
The case was prosecuted by Monmouth County Assistant Prosecutors Michael Luciano and Tara Wilson.
Curtin is represented by Carlos Diaz-Cobo, Esq. of New Brunswick.