Crime and Courts
Chief investigative reporter Jonathan Dienst on crime, corruption and terrorism.
Long Branch

NJ Man Indicted on Murder Charges in Mystifying Family Killing on New Year’s Eve 2017

What to Know

  • An 18-year-old New Jersey man has been indicted on murder charges in the shooting deaths of three family members and a friend at his home on New Year's Eve in 2017
  • Scott Kologi was taken into custody at the scene of the Long Branch bloodbath that night; he was initially being tried as a juvenile
  • A judge sided with prosecutors' motion to try him as an adult just this past November; he's been jailed since, awaiting trial

An 18-year-old man has been indicted on four counts of first-degree murder and one count of second-degree possession of a weapon for an unlawful purpose in the killings of three family members on New Year's Eve in 2017.

Scott Kologi is accused of murdering his parents, sister and a family friend on the night at their home in Long Branch, New Jersey. The indictment handed down Monday was noticeably still absent of one piece of lacking evidence that has perplexed investigators and the public for years: Motive.

Kologi originally had been charged as a juvenile in the case; he was 16 years old at the time of the killings. He allegedly shot all four victims -- Steven and Linda Kologi, 44 and 42 respectively; 18-year-old Brittany Kologi; and 70-year-old Mary Schultz, who lived in the home, multiple times just before the Times Square ball dropped to ring in 2018.

Defense attorney Richard Lomurro said Monday he plans to enter a not guilty plea at his client's scheduled Jan. 27 arraignment.

His brother and grandfather and another friend were in the house at the time of the shooting but escaped unharmed. Cops found Kologi at the home and he was taken into custody. A rifle, later determined to be the weapon used in the homicides, was recovered.

This past November, a judge agreed to move the case from family court and try him as an adult. He has been ordered to remain jailed while he awaits trial, but Lomurro said he would also continue efforts to have him transferred to a psychiatric hospital pending trial. Previous examinations, he said, had detailed his client's mental issues including a history of hallucinations, autism and "distorted thinking."

Kologi faces a minimum sentence of 30 years in state prison without parole for each of the four counts of first-degree murder. The max sentence is life in prison; he would have to serve 85 percent of his sentence before becoming eligible for parole.

Prosecutors initially said Kologi allegedly went room to room to find his victims. Prosecutors also have said the semi-automatic rifle used in the killings was legally owned by someone in the home, but have provided no other details.

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