FREEHOLD — An 85-year-old man who admitted using his SUV to purposely hit and kill a romantic rival three years ago has been sentenced to 10 years in state prison.

Johnny Westbrook of Asbury Park had pleaded guilty in July to aggravated manslaughter in the hit-and-run death of 63-year-old Daniel Rivera three years ago. Westbrook's sentence was imposed Monday and made public Tuesday.

The incident occurred in December 2018, when Westbrook followed Rivera -- his neighbor in an adjacent apartment building -- to a nearby store.

Westbrook waited outside for several minutes and, when Rivera emerged from the business, Westbrook drove his SUV onto the sidewalk, ran over Rivera and dragged him several feet, according to Monmouth County prosecutors. He left the scene on foot and was later found at his apartment.

A month earlier, authorities say the two men got into a physical fight in the apartment building hallway, swinging canes at each other before Westbrook punched the victim in the nose.

Defense attorneys tried unsuccessfully to have Westbrook declared incompetent for trial, saying he had memory loss. A psychiatrist, though, testified that she believed Westbrook was faking or exaggerating any memory loss.

The Asbury Park Press has reported Westbrook previously served six years of a seven-year prison term in a February 2004 shooting in Neptune of a man who was having an affair with a 23-year-old woman to whom Westbrook had given an engagement ring.

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