After seven days of testimony, the state rested its case Tuesday in the trail of Jahmell Crockam.
Crockam will not take the stand in his defense, he told Superior Court Judge Wendel E. Daniels. When the judge asked the defendant if he understood that he had the right to testify, Crockam responded affirmatively.
Following the day's proceedings, which included testimony from two men who said that Crockam confessed the crime to them, defense attorney Mark Fury said that he does not plan to call any witnesses to the stand. Closing arguments are scheduled for Wednesday morning.
Crockam is accused of killing Christopher Matlosz, a 27-year-old Lakewood police officer and Manchester resident, in January 2011.
Darius Johnson — who is in jail pending numerous charges including the Oct. 15 death of Lakewood resident Justin Williams, a charge Crockam also faces — testifed that Crockam admitted to killing Matlosz while the two were housed in the Ocean County Jail.
"He shot the cop," Johnson said when asked by Senior Assistant Prosecutor Michael Weatherstone what Crockam said about the incident. The prosecution said Johnson was not made any deals or promises in exchange for his testimony.
Johnson said Crockam went on to explain to him that there was no gun, no DNA evidence and he was not caught on the camera mounted on Matlosz' patrol car.
Weatherstone asked Johnson about a comment that Crockam allegedly had made on other occasions about murdering a police officer.
"He made a comment basically to the effect of, 'I'm thinking of killing a cop?' " Heisler asked. Johnson responded "yes."
Johnson said he had seen Crockam with a .38-caliber revolver. Fury questioned whether Johnson could recall the color of the gun.
Another inmate who claims to have heard Crockam confess was Raymond Rush, a 48-year-old with a criminal history dating to the 1980s.
Rush said from August to October of 2011 he was in a cell next to Crockam. After the birth of his child while he was in jail, Rush became withdrawn. One day, Rush said Crockam asked about what he was going through. In return, Crockam opened up about the shooting, Rush said.
"He told me about how it happened," the witness said. "He was going to pretend he was getting his ID out of his pocket, but he got a gun."
Rush said that Crockam appeared "unemotional" as he told the story. Though Rush said that Crockam did not say how many times he fired at Matlosz, he said he believed it was "more than once."
"He said one of the shots was up close and personal," he said.
Fury asked Rush about the deal he received from prosecutors in exchange for his testimony.
"You went from 7 to 8 years to being jail free?" Fury asked. Rush acknowledged that was the truth.
Cpl. Michael Delanoy, who works for the Ocean County Department of Corrections, testified that the configuration of the jail makes it possible that these individuals could have had encounters with Crockam.
Detective Casey Long of the Ocean County Prosecutor's Office as the prosecution's final witness. A video of Crockam in the Lakewood Police Department just hours after his capture in a Camden apartment was shown.
Long and a Lakewood police officer can be heard telling Crockam that he should tell the truth.
"Here's the deal. You're not the first witness we've talked to," Long says on the video. "I know that you were there when the police officer was shot."
Crockam can be heard telling the officers that he knew about the shooting from the news but had left for a trip to Camden and did not know much else.
Long urges Crockam to explain what happened, since the public perception is that he is "a cold-blooded" killer.
"I told you what happened," Crockam says.
"That's not what happened, man," Long says before the recording ends.
Long tied up various loose ends for the prosecution. He testified to an affidavit from the New Jersey State Police showing that Crockam had never applied for nor received a gun permit. Long said that two warrants were active for Crockam's arrest at the time of Matlosz' death.
William J. Heisler, chief assistant Ocean County prosecutor, asked Long to clear up some confusion regarding a transcript of Corey Rua's police statement.
"in a sock," despite the transcript stating that the gun was removed from inside of the sock on his foot.
Long testified that a teenage witness who last week seemed coherent to him.
"He didn't appear to be under the influence of anything," said Long, who was present when the statement was taken.
The jailhouse witnesses came forward to the prosecutor's office, Long said. Long said no reward money has been paid, nor has anyone applied.
Fury asked Long about how witness statements are collected and whether police may give suspects incorrect information to get to the truth.
"You're even allowed to mislead?" Fury asked. Long responded "correct" and said that he tries to get those being questioned to tell the truth.
"I make no promises. I encourage them to be as truthful as possible," he said.