NJ man admits ‘venomous’ hate crime against Jewish boss — loses appeal
KEARNY — A Belleville man has lost his bid to throw out a conviction of a 2014 hate crime in which he admitted spray-painting a swastika on a van belonging to his former boss, who is Jewish.
Although Frederick Vangelden pleaded guilty in 2015 to the hate crime, he had sought entry into the court's pre-trial intervention program, which spares certain non-violent offenders from a conviction record.
But the Hudson County Prosecutor's Office opposed the move, arguing that hate crimes are "inappropriate for PTI diversion."
The prosecutor said Vangelden "displayed a venomous hatred of his Jewish ex-employer by invoking a heinous reference to the Nazi era."
An appellate panel on Wednesday agreed with the trial judge's ruling against PTI.
Vangelden and two friends — Akim Dolor and Adonis Giron — were charged with the vandalism, which included breaking the windshields and headlights of four vans on the commercial property on Oct. 3, 2014. They were arrested a year later.
Vangelden was sentenced to a year of probation after pleading guilty to fourth-degree criminal mischief property damage and fourth-degree bias intimidation.
It was not immediately clear Wednesday what happened to the charges against his friends, although a court database shows no record of conviction for them.
Sergio Bichao is deputy digital editor at New Jersey 101.5. Send him news tips: Call 609-438-1015 or email firstname.lastname@example.org.
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