Brick man charged with murder-for-hire of his own father

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BRICK TOWNSHIP — A township man has been indicted on Oct. 8 in an alleged 2019 murder-for-hire case in which the victim was his father.

According to Bryan Huntenberg, Press Officer for the Ocean County Prosecutor’s Office, Mark J. Austin, 30, of Brick, is charged with agreeing to pay a co-defendant, Jeray Melton, 30, of Salem City, to kill his father, Mark Richard Austin, 55. 

An investigation determined that the elder Mr. Austin was beaten to death in September of 2019.

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During the investigation, Mr. Melton pleaded guilty to aggravated manslaughter. He has been held in the Monmouth County Correctional Institution, awaiting sentencing, after telling investigators that the younger Mr. Austin had agreed to pay him for the murder, Mr. Huntenberg said.

The indictment of Mr. Austin and Mr. Melton supersedes an earlier indictment charging Mr. Melton with the murder.

Mark J. Austin is charged with murder and possession of a weapon for an unlawful purpose, and agreeing to procure a payment or the promise of a payment of a monetary value for assistance in the crime. He is being held in the Ocean County jail pending a hearing, Mr. Huntenberg said. If convicted, he faces life imprisonment without parole.

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