Sunday, April 20, 2014
Inquirer Daily News

Toms River man convicted in near-fatal attack

TOMS RIVER, N.J. - A South Jersey man has been convicted of attempted murder for trying to kill a woman at a New Year's Eve party because she had rebuffed his romantic advances.

Robert Hankins of Toms River was also convicted on weapons charges in the 2011 attack at a crowded party in Lakewood.

The Asbury Park Press reported that the Ocean County jury deliberated for just five minutes before returning its verdict Wednesday. Prosecutors said they would seek a prison term of nearly 27 years for Hankins when he is sentenced March 28.

Witnesses testified that Hankins put the 58-year-old victim in a chokehold and slashed her neck. He then took the same knife and slit his own throat.

The victim, a Manchester Township resident who was a bartender at the American Legion Post where the party was held, nearly died. Prosecutors said she had since recovered, but endured nightmares and could no longer work because she suffered from post-traumatic stress disorder.

Prosecutors said the woman had sent a letter to officials of the post several weeks before the attack, claiming that Hankins had been threatening her and that he frightened her.

Hankins' $250,000 bail was revoked after the verdict was handed down Wednesday.

Associated Press
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