What to Know
- Shawn Custis will have to serve at least 63 years and nine months of the 75-year term before he is eligible for parole in the 2013 attack
- The assault was captured on a nanny cam
- Custis' attorney argued during the trial that his client was framed by racist cops. Prosecutors said bias played no part
A man caught on home security video beating a mother in front of her 3-year-old daughter during a 2013 break-in was sentenced to life in prison on Wednesday.
Shawn Custis will have to serve at least 63 years and nine months of the 75-year term before he is eligible for parole in the attack in Millburn, New Jersey, on Aug. 16, 2013.
Custis was charged with attempted murder in the case; he was later found guilty of aggravated assault, child endangerment, burglary, criminal restraint and theft but was acquitted of the top charge.
The harsh sentence was levied in part because of Custis' prior criminal convictions. He sobbed openly in court as the sentence was announced.
The assault was captured on a nanny cam. The video shows a burly man pushing his way into a suburban home where a mother and her 3-year-old daughter are watching television. He then punches and kicks the woman for several minutes, at one point throwing her down a flight of stairs.
Prosecutors showed the video to jurors at the beginning of the trial; when Assistant Essex County Prosecutor Jamel Semper showed it again later in the trial, two female jurors held their hands over their eyes.
Custis' attorney, John McMahon, argued during the trial that his client was framed by racist cops. Prosecutors contended that bias didn't play a part and that they were led to Custis by several people who identified him after seeing the video on television.
Custis was arrested about a week after the crime in New York City, after police say they received calls from several women saying they recognized him. Prosecutors also presented evidence that blood on jeans found in his apartment came from the victim, who testified but whose name has not been released.
McMahon argued that the investigation was tainted by racial animus and that police ignored evidence that could have pointed to other suspects. He also said the video quality wasn't good enough for a positive identification of Custis.