Newark – Acting Essex County Prosecutor Carolyn A. Murray announced today that the Honorable Richard Sules, Judge of the Superior Court, sentenced John Howard, 30, of Newark to 15 years in New Jersey State Prison for robbing and assaulting a woman in the area of Frelinghuysen Avenue and Emmett Street in Newark.

During the early morning hours of Nov. 1, 2015 Howard walked up to the victim and demanded her pocketbook. When she resisted Howard hit her in the face causing her to fall to the ground. He then took her pocketbook, which held her cell phone and other personal items, and fled, according to Assistant Prosecutor Sarah B. Vander Woude, who tried the case.

On March 31, 2017, a jury found Howard guilty of 2nd degree robbery and simple assault.

Today, Judge Sules sentenced him to 15 years in prison. Howard must serve 85 percent of his sentence before he is eligible for parole.


Assistant Prosecutor Vander Woude filed a motion asking Judge Sules to sentence Howard as a “persistent offender” because of his lengthy record. Judge Sules granted the State’s motion. As a result, Judge Sules  sentenced the defendant in the 1st degree crime range of 10 years to 20 years in prison, instead of the 2nd degree crime range of 5 years to 10 years.


Howard had previously been convicted of escape from detention, distribution of narcotics in a school zone, resisting arrest, receiving stolen property and attempting to elude the police.


“This robbery is particularly troubling because it exhibited an escalation in violence in Howard’s criminal history.  This successful conviction was made possible by the courage of this victim to step forward and the hard work of Newark Police officers and detectives,” said Assistant Prosecutor Vander Woude.


After the sentencing on the robbery, the defendant pled guilty to second degree burglary and second degree conspiracy to commit aggravated assault, charges arising out of an event that occurred on Nov. 4, 2015.  The State’s recommendation on this matter is 7 years in prison where he must serve 85 percent of his sentence before he is eligible for parole.  Sentencing is set for June 30, 2017.