Originally charged with attempted murder, a Tuckerton man has pleaded guilty to aggravated assault and stalking in connection with the shooting of a marine dealership owner.

Donald Rutter, 53, could be handed a seven-year prison term when he's sentenced on July 25.

According to the Ocean County Prosecutor's Office, Rutter shot Thomas Jarvis, 55, at Jarvis Marine in Little Egg Harbor Township on Jan. 5 2021. When police responded at approximately 7:30 p.m., they found Jarvis with an apparent gunshot wound to his midsection.

An investigation determined that Rutter was the individual who shot Jarvis, the prosecutor's office said. Authorities from multiple agencies were unsuccessful in locating Rutter in the aftermath of the shooting and a warrant was issued for his arrest.

Nearly a month later, Rutter was located in Atlantic City. He had been eluding police by living under the boardwalk, authorities said.

According to an affidavit filed by investigators, Rutter blamed Jarvis for the breakup of his 18-year marriage.

Two weeks before the shooting, Rutter was told by his wife that she "no longer wanted to be with him as a result of his drinking," the affidavit says.

When asked by investigators for a possible motive, Jarvis said that Rutter believed that he was responsible for breaking up his marriage. The complaint and affidavit in the case do not confirm whether the victim was romantically involved with Rutter's partner.

With previous reporting by Dan Alexander

Dino Flammia is a reporter for New Jersey 101.5. You can reach him at dino.flammia@townsquaremedia.com

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