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mcpo timothy parrish mugPHOTO: Timothy Parrish convicted of shooting Roberto Diaz and Frank Lavacca 

FREEHOLD – Citing a litany of reasons for his decision, a Monmouth County judge sentenced a Freehold Borough man to a total of 70 years in New Jersey State Prison, announced Monmouth County Prosecutor Christopher J. Gramiccioni. The sentence follows the man’s conviction in October of Attempted Murder and related charges for the 2014 shooting of two men at a borough restaurant just two days after Christmas.

Timothy Parrish, 33, of Freehold Borough, was found guilty on Oct. 11, 2019, of shooting 40-year-old Roberto Diaz and 35-year-old Frank Lavacca after a trial in front of Monmouth County Superior Court Judge Joseph W. Oxley. The jury returned guilty verdicts on charges of second degree Aggravated Assault, first degree Attempted Murder, second degree Possession of a Weapon for an Unlawful Purpose, first degree Unlawful Possession of a Weapon and second degree Certain Persons Not to Have Weapons.

The conviction comes as a result of a joint investigation by the Monmouth County Prosecutor’s Office and Freehold Borough Police Department. Freehold Borough police officers responded to the Metropolitan Café located at 8 East Main Street for a report of a shooting on Dec. 27, 2014. Inside, police located the victims with gunshot wounds and life threatening injuries. The victims were both rushed to Jersey Shore University Medical Center in Neptune Township where they underwent emergency surgery and remained for several days. After interviewing witnesses and reviewing video surveillance, the police learned Timothy Parrish shot both victims with a loaded firearm as he chased them through the alleyway.

At trial, jurors viewed video footage showing that the attack was unprovoked. Parrish and his two victims had no interactions during the night, and further showed Parrish stalking his victims before and after he followed the two unarmed men in the alleyway. After a brief verbal interaction, the victims, who did not know Parrish, thought the defendant left the alleyway. Unbeknownst to them, Parrish instead hid behind a bush and ambushed them on their way to the parking lot. With no way out, the victims turned around and ran for their lives back to the Metropolitan Café while Parrish fired.

Judge Oxley sentenced Parrish to an aggregate sentence of 70 years in prison. The court also ordered that the 33-year-old Parrish be required to serve a minimum of 58 years in state prison before he is eligible for parole. In doing so, the court granted the State’s motion to impose an extended term of incarceration upon Parrish as a result of his prior violent record with a firearm.

At the time of the shootings, Parrish was on parole after release from state prison on a 2004 conviction. In that case, Parrish shot an 18-year-old male in a church, leaving the victim paralyzed. In that investigation, he told detectives he shot the victim because he was from out of town, and admitted he felt nothing when he shot the young male.

“Mr. Parrish is a repeat offender who was out on parole when he stalked his two victims like prey without provocation. Judge Oxley’s sentence puts this violent man behind bars for much of the next six decades, where he can no longer harm the citizens of Freehold Borough and Monmouth County,” Gramiccioni said.

The case was prosecuted by Monmouth County Assistant Prosecutor Lindsay Ashwal.

Parrish is represented by Albert Kapin, Esq., of West Orange.