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New Jersey man charged with attempted murder for beating caught on camera

By Laura Ly, CNN
updated 7:58 PM EST, Fri January 31, 2014
STORY HIGHLIGHTS
  • Shawn Custis, 42, is charged with attempted murder for July home invasion
  • Prosecutors say Custis seen on video beating woman near her child
  • Custis' attorney says he anticipates his client will plead not guilty

(CNN) -- A man caught on camera beating a woman in front of her young child has been charged on several counts of attempted murder, robbery, burglary and aggravated assault, Essex County, New Jersey, Assistant Prosecutor Jamel Semper said Friday.

Shawn Custis, 42, allegedly forced his way into a Millburn, New Jersey, home around 10 a.m. on June 21 and brutally beat the woman while her young daughter sat motionless on a nearby couch. The woman's 18-month old son was sleeping upstairs.

Custis fled the house with an undetermined amount of jewelry, Millburn police said. The entire episode was caught on the family's home security camera.

Custis was also indicted on counts of endangering the welfare of a child, criminal restraint, and theft, according to Semper.

Custis is currently being held at the Essex County Correctional Facility on $750,000 bail, prosecutors said.

In the home video obtained by CNN affiliate WABC, Custis repeatedly punches the woman in the face while her daughter watches nearby. He throws her to the floor, chokes her, kicks her multiple times, and throws her down a flight of stairs. He does not hurt the daughter.

After he leaves, the woman goes upstairs to retrieve her toddler son and waits with her two children for police to arrive. On the video, the child who witnessed the attack appears to be as young as 5 years old and likely no more than 8.

The woman who was beaten told CNN affiliate News 12 New Jersey that she made a conscious decision to try to remain silent in an attempt to protect her daughter.

"I knew that if I started screaming, my daughter would too, and I was afraid that she would get hurt," she said at the time. "I took it. I didn't cry the entire time."

The woman was later taken to an area hospital, where she was treated for a concussion, chipped teeth, and injuries to her face and legs, according to prosecutors.

Custis was arrested in New York City by the FBI Fugitive Task Force and detectives from the Essex County Prosecutor's Office.

Custis is to be arraigned on February 28, said the prosecutor's office.

Custis' attorney, Olubukola "Bukie" Adetula, told CNN that he anticipates Custis will plead not guilty.

"We will do what we have to do to defend this case aggressively," Adetula said.

Millburn is a small suburban community about 10 miles east of Newark.

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