Long Branch teen charged as adult with executing his family
LONG BRANCH — A judge has ruled that the teen who prosecutors say gunned down four members of his family inside their home on New Year's Eve in 2017 will face four counts of first-degree murder in criminal court.
The Kologi family was spending New Year's Eve at the family's Wall Street home when then 16-year-old Scott Kologi left the room and came back with a rifle and shot his father Steven Kologi, 44, his mother, Linda Kologi, 43, his sister, Brittany, 18 and his grandfather's longtime companion, Mary Schultz, 70, at close range.
Scott's grandfather, Adrian, and a family friend escaped the room when Scott began firing.
Monmouth County Prosecutor Christopher Gramiccioni said Scott used a Century Arms semi-automatic rifle to execute his family.
Gramiccioni said in 2018 that the bodies were "riddled" with shots at close range by the suspect, whose weapon held 15 rounds. He said the shootings were "fairly sudden and quick" and investigators believe that the victims had "no chance to escape."
Gramiccioni said the weapon had been "lawfully acquired" by a living member of the household. He would not disclose how the teen was able to get his hands on the gun.
The prosecutor said he intended to charge Scott as an adult but until now the fate of case was not revealed due to a Family Court judge's gag order on his office about discussing the case. Scott had been incarcerated at the Middlesex County Youth Detention Center since his arrest.
Investigators said two 911 calls about the shooting were made about 11:43 p.m. Kologi was arrested inside the home.
Investigators said that Kologi admitted killing his family, referring to his grandfather's girlfriend as his "grandmother," and described the steps he took in retrieving and loading the rifle. He did not offer a motive, investigators said in an affidavit of probable cause.
A year after the shooting, Adrian Kologi told New Jersey 101.5 what happened inside the house after his grandson found a rifle.
"He took it outside and walked around the block to kill people," Adrian said. "On his little walk he decided, 'Oh, I'm not going to kill strangers I'm going to go home and kill my family.'"
Adrian said his grandson's "brain was messed up" by a tumor and nerve damage from child birth.
"Who knows what his brain was thinking?" Adrian said, unable to finish his thought. "He was making comments that nobody ... "
Scott has been described by family as being on the autism spectrum. Authorities have not discussed what role, if any, developmental disabilities might have played.
"I tried to warn Steve and Linda he was saying stuff and acting. (Scott) got mad at me for ratting him out. He was obsessed with killing his family."
Scott was also charged with one count of second degree possession of a weapon for an unlawful purpose.
His first appearance and detention hearing is scheduled in Monmouth County Superior Court on Wednesday.
Scott's attorney, Richard Lomurro, told New Jersey 101.5 his client would enter a not guilty plea at his first appearance. Lomurro would not disclose a motive for the shooting or comment directly on reports about his being autistic but Scott's mental health played a role in the decision to keep him in juvenile/family court until now.
Lomurro said that Kologi would plead not guilty on Wednesday at his first appearance.
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