FREEHOLD – An Asbury Park man who entered a stranger’s home in 2021, threatened and robbed two occupants at knifepoint, and sexually assaulted one of them has been sentenced to 40 years in state prison for the crime, Monmouth County Prosecutor Raymond S. Santiago announced Wednesday.

Shawn Connolly, 37, was sentenced Tuesday by Monmouth County Superior Court Judge Henry P. Butehorn, who also noted that the term is subject to New Jersey’s No Early Release Act, which mandates that 85 percent be served prior to the possibility of parole.

Shortly before 5:30 a.m. on Tuesday, September 14, 2021, members of the Asbury Park Police Department responded to a home on 7th Avenue for a 911 call. Upon arrival, they immediately located Connolly and took him into custody without incident, recovering proceeds from the robbery in his pockets.  

An investigation by members of the Prosecutor’s Office and the Asbury Park Police Department determined that shortly before the officers’ arrival, the two victims, an adult male and female, suddenly awoke to Connolly in their bedroom wielding a knife and threatening to harm them, having entered through a kitchen window. During the course of the robbery, the female victim was sexually assaulted by Connolly after he ordered the male to leave the room to retrieve cash; as he did so, the male victim also called 911 and left the line open.

Connolly was indicted in November 2021 before the case proceeded to trial in September 2023. Following a little more than two weeks of proceedings, the jury delivered guilty verdicts on charges of first-degree Aggravated Sexual Assault, first-degree Armed Robbery, second-degree Burglary, second-degree Sexual Assault, third-degree Making Terroristic Threats, and three related weapons offenses. In accordance with his sentence, Connolly will also be required to register as a sex offender under Megan’s Law and remain subject to Parole Supervision for Life.

This case was tried by Monmouth County Assistant Prosecutors Keri Schaefer and Christopher Ammon. Connolly was represented by John M. Murphy III, Esq., of Staten Island.