Robbery charges have been filed against two defendants in connection with an alleged robbery back in March at a deli less than an hour north of Morristown. The case is not as straightforward as it may seem, in that two men are in jail, but the victim and surveillance footage only point to a lone suspect.
The shop owner told police that a man had come in and brandished a weapon, demanding money. The suspect took several hundred dollars and left, according to the owner. Surveillance footage soon led police to arrest a young man in his early 20s, apparently a Hamburg resident.
However, a more recent drug bust has landed another suspect in jail for the same crime – a Highland Lakes man in his mid-20s. Both men are being held in Sussex County jail, facing armed robbery and other charges.
Morristown residents reading reports of this latest arrest may wonder why two men are in jail, when the deli owner reported that the robbery was committed by a lone individual. And if that question occurs to the typical resident reading the news, it would certainly occur to a jury hearing the case.
This is an important point for any individuals facing theft charges and related charges like burglary or robbery to keep in mind because it’s up to prosecutors to prove a defendant guilty beyond a reasonable doubt. When authorities have made multiple arrests in a case where eyewitnesses and surveillance only show one suspect, defendants have a strong opportunity to cast a reasonable doubt on the accusations against them.
And reasonable doubt is all that is required for a jury to acquit a defendant of the charges.