NJ journalist dies 6 months after brutal ‘hate crime’ attack
FREEHOLD TOWNSHIP — Jerry Wolkowitz, a freelance photographer who prosecutors say was brutally beaten and assaulted because of his race, has died six months after the attack in the parking lot of his apartment.
Jamil S. Hubbard, 25, of Sayreville, approached 55-year-old Jerry Wolkowitz and hit him from behind on May 1, according to Monmouth County Prosecutor Christopher J. Gramiccioni.
He had been hospitalized in a vegetative state ever since the attack, according to a GoFundMe page created to help with his medical expenses. The Asbury Park Press reported his death on Thursday. Monmouth County Prosecutor's Office spokesman Chris Swendeman said his body had been brought to the Middlesex County Medical Examiner for a postmortem exam.
Wolkowitz was hit on his head and his face before being dragged into the parking lot of an apartment building on Harding Road, Gramiccioni said. Hubbard then stole Wolkowitz's car and drove over him, prosecutors say. Police said they found the car at Hubbard's home in Sayreville.
"The investigation determined that the defendant targeted the victim because of his race," Swendeman said at the time, adding that Hubbard, who is black, and Wolkowitz, who is white, did not know each other.
Hubbard was charged with first-degree attempted murder, third-degree possession of a weapon for an unlawful purpose and first-degree bias intimidation. He remains in custody. Swendeman would not disclose if new charges would be brought.
According to the GoFundMe page, Wolkowitz was a reporter, writer and first aid volunteer. The Asbury Park Press reported he was a life member of the Freehold First Aid and Rescue Squad.
Retired Robbinsville fire captain Dennis Symons said he first met Wolkowitz sometime in the 1990s when he was working as a freelance photographer for the Allentown Messenger.
"A lot of stories or sports we were covering at the time overlapped so I would be shooting side by side at games and events. Jerry was a really nice guy and we were always talking about the latest equipment or assignments we were covering."
Funeral arrangements for Wolkowitz have not been announced.