A New Jersey man has pleaded not guilty to attempted murder, burglary and other charges in the beating of a young mother — captured by a nanny cam — in front of her 3-year-old daughter at their home in an upscale Garden State community late last month.
Shawn Custis, a 42-year-old with a long criminal history of burglaries, was ordered held Tuesday on $750,000 bail. He was arrested Friday in upper Manhattan by New York and New Jersey FBI agents, shortly after he was publicly identified as a suspect, a law enforcement official said.
Authorities say the victim and her daughter were watching cartoons on their couch in Millburn, N.J., mid-morning June 21, a baby boy asleep upstairs, when the suspect — alleged to be Custis — kicked in the dead-bolted door of their Cypress Street home.
The suspect beat the mother as the little girl watched, punching and kicking the woman at least 16 times before pushing her down the basement stairs, police said.
The assault was captured on a nanny cam. Footage from that camera shows the woman being tossed around and beaten as her daughter (seen as a blur in the video) looks on. The mother stays nearly silent during the end of the attack.
"She stayed quiet because she didn't want to upset the 3-year-old child who was witnessing the whole crime," said Millburn Police Captain Michael Palardy, who called the brutal assault "despicable."
The attacker appears to stop at one point to say something to the child. She was not hurt.
The suspect took off with jewelry and valuables, including the woman's wedding rings and her purse, police said.
The mother was taken to the hospital to be treated for a concussion and bruises to her face and body. She had several chipped teeth and received stitches near her mouth, police said. Her husband was at work in New York City at the time of the attack.
Authorities say Custis may have chosen the Cypress Street home because he believed it was empty; the shades were drawn and no car was in the driveway.