FREEHOLD – An 18-year-old Neptune Township man was charged Friday night for the shooting death of a 10-year-old boy and wounding the victim’s mother in Asbury Park last week. “We are seeking the public’s assistance in helping us locate the second individual involved in this horrible crime,” announced Monmouth County Prosecutor Christopher J. Gramiccioni. A 16-year-old Neptune Township boy was previously arrested and charged Thursday for his role in the murder.
Karon Council, 18, of Neptune Township, is charged with Murder, Conspiracy to Commit Murder, Aggravated Assault, Unlawful Possession of a Weapon, and Possession of a Weapon for an Unlawful Purpose.
Asbury Park police responded to a 911 call around 10:40 p.m. on Wednesday, February 21, 2018, reporting shots fired at a home in the 400 block of Ridge Avenue in the city. Police arrived to find Yovanni Banos-Merino, 10, and his mother, Lilia Merino, 38, both suffering from gunshot wounds. Both victims were transported to Jersey Shore University Medical Center in Neptune Township. Yovanni was pronounced deceased at 11:18 p.m. while Lilia was treated and released for her injuries.
A joint investigation was immediately launched by the Monmouth County Prosecutor’s Office and the Asbury Park Police Department with assistance from the Neptune Township Police Department and the Monmouth County Sheriff’s Office. As a result of that investigation, the 16 year-old juvenile was charged on Thursday and lodged at the Middlesex County Youth Detention Center, where he remains after a hearing before the Honorable Kathleen A. Sheedy, J.S.C., on Friday. The juvenile is scheduled for another court appearance on Tuesday, February 28, 2018.
The investigation continued after the juvenile’s arrest, resulting in Karon Council being charged Friday night for his role in the murder. Efforts to locate Council are active and ongoing, and involve the collaborative effort of a number of federal, state and local law enforcement authorities.
Monmouth County Prosecutor Christopher J. Gramiccioni is urging anyone with information regarding the whereabouts of Council to come forward and warned that police are prepared to charge any individuals who play a role in obstructing the apprehension of Council or who assists in concealing him from police.
The attached photograph of Council is being released for the purpose of obtaining the public’s assistance with any information relating to Council’s whereabouts or this investigation. Anyone with information about this case is asked to call Detective Brian Weisbrot of the Monmouth County Prosecutor’s Office at 800-533-7443 or Detective Sean DeShader of the Asbury Park Police Department at 732-774-1300.
Anyone who feels the need to remain anonymous but has information about a crime can contact Monmouth County Crime Stoppers confidential telephone tip-line by calling 1-800-671-4400; can text “MONMOUTH” plus their tip to 274637; or, they can email a tip via the website at www.monmouthcountycrimestoppers.com. Monmouth County Crime Stoppers will pay up to $5,000 for information leading to the arrest of criminals and fugitives.
Despite these charges, every defendant is presumed innocent, unless and until found guilty beyond a reasonable doubt, following a trial at which the defendant has all of the trial rights guaranteed by the U.S. Constitution and State law.
The case is assigned to Monmouth County Assistant Prosecutors Matthew Bogner and Joseph Cummings.