A Carteret man has been charged with murder after he allegedly killed a fellow inmate while incarcerated at the Essex County Correctional Facility, the county attorney’s office said.

Officials said Ashton Barthelus, 26, stabbed Dan Milford Gelin, 27, of Elizabeth inside the Newark facility on Dec. 2, according to the probable cause affidavit.

Police said surveillance video showed Barthelus running at Gelin with a rod. Barthelus then allegedly stabbed Gelin repeatedly while shouting, “Why did you disrespect me,” according to the affidavit.

Gelin was pronounced dead at 9:03 a.m. on December 3 at University Hospital.

The prison has recently come under fire for its handling of violence inside the facility. A rally was held in Newark on Wednesday, as speakers demanded action after Jayshawn Boyd, 22, of Elizabeth, was brutally beaten by fellow inmates in September. The beating left Boyd in a coma for more than two months and sparked outrage after a video of the beating emerged which showed no guards coming to Boyd’s aid for more than two minutes as his unconscious body was beaten.

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On Sunday, the attorney general’s office announced it was joining the investigation into Gelin’s death, as it is obligated to investigate any death of a person in custody.

The bureau will investigate “the conduct of correctional officers and other prison staff, and the Essex County District Attorney’s Office will investigate the conduct of any other parties who may be responsible,” wrote Peter Aseltine, gatekeeper. word of the Attorney General, in a press release.

In addition to first degree murder, Barthelus was charged with unlawful possession of a weapon and possession of a weapon for an unlawful purpose. Officials did not immediately say what charge Barthelus was initially in jail for, but county inmate search found he had been in jail since November 2020.

Brooke Barnett, a Newark civil attorney, said Wednesday she had been in contact with Gelin’s family but was not officially representing them at the time. Barnett represents Boyd’s family and filed a tort lawsuit against Essex County in October, alleging misconduct, civil rights violations, negligence, improper training and supervision, lack of protection and cruel and unusual punishments. A trial could follow.

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On Wednesday, rally participants called for the jail to be closed after the violent incidents inside the Essex County facility. They also called for the removal of former Gov. Jim McGreevey, who heads the Essex County Civilian Task Force and said the jail’s response to Boyd’s beatings followed protocol.

“McGreevey, you have to take 30 days, walk into those cells and see what it’s like to live there,” activist Steve Young said Wednesday.

Liam Quinn is a breaking news reporter for NorthJersey.com. To get the latest news straight to your inbox, Subscribe to our newsletter.

E-mail: [email protected]

Twitter: @Liam_D_Quinn


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