Long Branch man, 20, convicted of 2017 NYE murders of his family
A 20-year-old Long Branch man has been found guilty of murdering most of his family shortly before midnight on New Year's Eve in 2017 — gunning down both parents, a sister and his grandfather's companion.
Scott Kologi was convicted on all charges, including four counts of first-degree murder and a second-degree weapons offense, Acting Monmouth County Prosecutor Lori Linskey announced Thursday.
The verdict followed a two-week trial before Monmouth County Superior Court Judge Marc Lemieux and several hours of jury deliberation.
Long Branch police and the Monmouth County Sheriff’s Office received a 911 call reporting shots fired at 635 Wall Street at 11:43 p.m. on Dec. 31, 2017.
Responding officers found 18-year-old Brittany Kologi, 44-year-old Linda Kologi, 42-year-old Steven Kologi and 70-year-old Mary Schultz of Ocean Township, all suffering gunshot wounds from a high-powered rifle.
Scott Kologi was arrested that night and the Century Arms C39v2 semi-automatic rifle used in the killings was also recovered.
“The jury’s verdict confirms that Scott Kologi was responsible for his decisions and actions on the night that culminated with him killing four members of his family," Linskey said.
“This trial hinged on issues of mental health and the responsibility of this defendant. It is clear that the jury considered all of the evidence, including testimony of expert witnesses, as well as the applicable law, in rendering its verdict," Linskey continued.
Kologi was 16 at the time of the shootings. He was waived to Superior Court and indicted on the current charges.
Defense attorneys had argued that Scott Kologi was legally insane and experiencing a severe psychotic episode at the time of the killings, as reported by Asbury Park Press in covering the trial's closing statements.
"In recognizing the criminality of the defendant’s actions, we also recognize that this is a tragedy for all of the family members who are left to mourn this tremendous loss," Linskey also said.
Among witnesses for the defense was his older brother, who survived the massacre as he had left the family home hours earlier, according to APP coverage.
Kologi has been slated for sentencing on June 30. He will face up to four life sentences in state prison.