Lakewood Fugitive Caught, Faces Attempted Murder Charge
The Lakewood fugitive wanted for an attempted murder and robbery in Neptune last November is back in the U.S. and behind bars in Freehold on $1,000,000 bail.
Melvin Morales, 26, had his first appearance today before Monmouth Superior Court Judge Thomas Scully after being escorted from Puerto Rico Tuesday. The bail figure has no option to get out with a 10-percent payment, and requires no contact with the victim.
Neptune police and county investigators contend that Morales toted a handgun and barged into a Clinton Place house on November 15 and tried to rob the owner.
Police say a struggle ensued and they accuse Morales of pumping several bullets into the 38-year-old victim, who was found bleeding in the street outside the house.
The unidentified victim underwent emergency surgery and spent several days in intensive care, say police. He's since been released.
Morales was charged on February 24 with attempted murder, armed robbery and possession of a firearm for an unlawful purpose. Local and county law enforcement got help from the US Marshal's Service to find Morales at his family's houme in Puerto Rico.
If convicted on the first-degree counts, Morales would face up to 20 years in a state prison and be required to serve at least 15 years before parole eligibility. The weapon charge is second degree which carries a maximum 10-year term, and a minimum of at least three years withotu parole.