Man arrested in decade-old Asbury Park murder had just gotten out of jail
A Long Branch man has been charged nearly 10 years after the murder of 21-year-old Jakeema Kelly in Asbury Park.
Acting Monmouth County Prosecutor Christopher Gramiccioni said Joey Johnson, 35, was arrested at his job in Freehold Township on Tuesday and charged with first-degree murder.
Gramiccioni, in announcing the arrest Wednesday morning, credited "a fresh set of eyes" for helping crack the case.
"We have been making a concerted effort to work on some cold cases" he told New Jersey 101.5, adding that "sometimes time and distance" helps to solve these cases.
While not offering specifics about what led to Johnson's arrest, he said Asbury Park Police and the NJ State Parole Board played a big role.
Kelly was found dead on a Dewitt Avenue sidewalk the evening of Mar. 26, 2006 outside the Westside Community Center’s administration building. He was pronounced dead at Jersey Shore University Medical Center in Neptune.
The New Jersey Dept. of Corrections website shows Johnson had been released from prison in October and had been in-and-out of prison seven times between 2007 and 2015. His record shows several charges of drug possession, distributing on school property, non-payment, resisting arrest and being under the influence.
“The arrest of Joey Johnson is a testament to the hard work and perseverance of the detectives who relentlessly pursued this investigation," Gramiccioni said in a statement. "Over the course of time, these dedicated law enforcement officers ensured the person responsible for Jakeema Kelly’s murder would be brought to justice. This office and our local law enforcement partners will continue to vigorously pursue all leads in these cases despite the passage of time."
Johnson was also charged with second-degree possession of a weapon for an unlawful purpose and second-degree certain persons not to possess weapons. He is being held in the Monmouth County Correctional Institution in Freehold Township, in lieu of $1.2 million cash bail.
Gramiccioni said that Johnson faces a minimum 30 years in prison if he is convicted of murder and would have to serve 85 percent of his sentence.