Brick Man ‘Savagely’ Beaten to Death by Son, Cops Say
Nearly a week after a Brick township man was found killed in his own home, the man's adult son is charged with first degree murder as the Ocean County Prosecutor described the death as a savage beating.
Mark J. Austin, 28, of Brick and Jeray Melton, 27, of Salem City were both charged and arrested with Mark R. Austin's murder on Friday, according to Ocean County Prosecutor Bradley D. Billhimer.
Billhimer said police were called to the 55-year-old victim's home on Acorn Drive in Brick on Saturday, Sept.7, and found him beaten to death.
According to Mark R. Austin's obituary, aside from the suspect, he had a son, Jason, who died in 2015. He is survived by one grandchild.
Billhimer did not disclose where Austin and Melton were arrested or further circumstances of the murder, such as possible motive. The prosecutor said it was not a shooting and there is no danger to the public.
“This investigation was very complex and the detectives in our Major Crime Unit and in the Brick Township Police Department did an amazing job of following leads and putting this case together,” Billhimer said. He previously had been very tight-lipped in releasing details about the case.
Both Mark J. Austin and Melton were charged murder, conspiracy to commit murder, possession of a weapon for an unlawful purpose and unlawful possession of a weapon. They are being held in the Ocean County Jail pending a detention hearing.
Following the intensive investigation, Billhimer also thanked other law enforcement agencies for their assistance, including Salem Police and the Salem County Prosecutor's Office, State Police, Port Authority of New York and New Jersey Police, Bayonne, Manchester and Millville police and the FBI.
Property records show the home is owned by the victim's ex-wife, Barbara Muzzicato-Austin.
Mark R. Austin's sister told NJ.com he had lived at the home since 1994 and was a former licensed home contractor.
Austin will be laid to rest on Monday, with a memorial gathering from 3 to 6PM at Weatherhead Young Funeral Home at 885 Mantoloking Road in Brick.