‘Violent attack’ on EOC staff brings state prison sentence

A “violent attack” against a Warren-Forest Counties Economic Opportunities Council has landed a Warren man in state prison.

Joshua A. Merkel, 27, was sentenced Friday by President Judge Maureen Skerda.

Merkel’s attorney, Chief Public Defender Kord Kinney said that his client “takes full accountability since day one” when he met with Merkel.

Nearly $6,000 in restitution was ordered and Skerda asked Kinney how Merkel might pay that amount.

“(It’s) going to be a difficulty for Mr. Merkel,” Kinney said.

“For these serious charges, he’s not who I’d expect to see,” he added. “I think it was out of character, snapping and causing great injury.”

Merkel told the court that he knows he “made a horrible decision” and said the victim “did not deserve that. I tend to let emotions get the best of me.”

Skerda called his contact a “violent attack” and said Merkel damaged EOC property “pretty severely, where they had given you a place to live.”

Skerda sentenced Merkel to 25 to 50 months incarceration in state prison with credit for 10 days time served along with $1,125 in fines and fees, to undergo mental health and drug and alcohol assessments, submission of a DNA sample, nearly $6,000 in restitution and a no contact/no trespass order on a count of aggravated assault as well as 18 months probation on a count of criminal mischief.


Today's breaking news and more in your inbox

I'm interested in (please check all that apply)
Are you a paying subscriber to the newspaper? *

Starting at $2.99/week.

Subscribe Today