Sunday, February 7, 2016

Suspect pleads not guilty to N.J. home invasion caught on video


A 42-year-old man charged in the shocking beating and robbery of a young mother that was caught on video inside her New Jersey home twow weeks ago made his first appearance in court Tuesday afternoon.

Shawn Custis, whose last known address was in Newark, was arraigned in Essex County court and is being held on $750,000 bail. He pleaded not guilty to charges of attempted murder, robbery, burglary and child endangerment.

He was arrested Friday afternoon in Manhattan. He is allegedly the suspect seen on a nanny video camera set up inside the living room of a Milburn home brutalling punching, kicking and throwing a woman into the basement — all while the victim's 3-year-old daughter looked on from a nearby couch. Another, even younger child slept upstairs.

What many people who watched the video first asked themselves appears to be true, according to authorities.

Custis chose the victim and her house on a suburban road at random.

"At this point, we have no information that theres a link between this defendant and the victim or house,' Essex County Prosecutor's spokeswoman Katherine Carter said following Custis' short appearance in county court. "It appears to be random."

A $5,000 reward was initially offered by the Essex County Sheriff's Office in the days after the video was released publicly. During the nearly two-minute video, the attacker throws her to the ground where he continues punching and kicks her in the head. He eventually throws her down the basement stairs. He appears to take several items between the beatings. The incident took place at about 10:30 a.m. in the Millburn, a suburb of Newark. The reward eventually quadrupled.

Contact Brian X. McCrone at 215-854-2267 or Follow @brianxmccrone on Twitter.

Contact the Breaking News Desk at 215-854-2443; Follow @phillynews on Twitter.

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