A judge sentenced a career criminal to life in prison Wednesday for a brutal home invasion beating caught on a nanny cam after listening to the victim describe how the 2013 attack left her with physical and psychological scars.
Shawn Custis said nothing during the hearing and held a folder of papers in front of his face during the proceeding to block photographers from taking his picture.
The woman, who testified against Custis during the trial, gasped and sobbed in the gallery after state Superior Court Judge Ronald Wigler pronounced the sentence and referred to the 45-year-old man as “vicious, depraved and evil.”
“I carry a personal alarm even when I am in the comfort of my own home,” said the woman, who prosecutors asked not be identified. “I am in my own prison. I haven’t opened a window in my house in two years.”
Wigler added an additional five years to Custis’ life sentence for the child endangerment conviction. Custis won’t be eligible for parole for more than 60 years.
Prosecutors had sought a life sentence for the Newark resident based on a criminal past Wigler termed “rather staggering.” It included 38 arrests and 17 felony convictions. One of the previous convictions was for a 1990s home invasion similar to the attack in Millburn.
“Half-measures of leniency haven’t worked to deter this defendant,” Semper told the judge. “He has almost as many arrests as he’s had birthdays.”
Custis’s attorney argued during the trial that the police investigation was biased because a white officer was heard on video using a racial slur. Custis is black.