HIGHLAND PARK, NJ—A 24-year-old man will be behind bars until after his 43rd birthday after admitting to a brutal sexual assault on a borough woman.
Brandon Cox is currently residing in Southwoods State Prison in Bridgeton and won't be eligible for parole until September 14, 2036, according to the NJ Department of Corrections.
The horrific crime occurred on February 19, 2017, when Cox admittedly kidnapped the woman's nine-month-old child at gunpoint and then dragged her into a basement on Harper Street where he sexually assaulted and repeatedly punched her before fleeing.
On October 16, Middlesex County Assignment Judge Alberto Rivas sentenced Cox to 23 years in state prison. Under the "No Early Release Act," Cox will have to serve 85% of the term before he can be released on parole.
If released, Cox would remain under parole supervision for life.
Middlesex County Prosecutor Andrew Carey has repeatedly stated that Cox was a resident of Franklin Township in Somerset County, but New Brunswick Today revealed that Cox actually spent far more time living on the very same block where the assault occurred.
Despite a sworn statement from one of Carey's own investigators, the three statements on the case released by the Middlesex County Prosecutor's Office (MCPO) refer to Cox as a Franklin resident.
In March 2017, we released the affidavit that showed authorities believed Cox was a Highland Park resident five days a week, and only spent the weekends in Franklin. The incident took place on a Sunday afternoon.
The document said that Cox actually lived just three houses away from the scene of the crime, and that he was required to report his address to the state's sex offender registry as a result of a prior sex crime conviction.
However, Cox did not register as a sex offender under the law, which relies on convicts to register themselves.
"Suspect resides at 120 Harper Street… but did not report the address" reads one of the affidavits submitted by MCPO investigator Allegra Bitterman.
It's not the only time that Carey's office was caught by this newspaper misleading the public in his press statements about incidents in the tiny town just north of New Brunswick.
As we reported in December, the Middlesex County Prosecutor's Office (MCPO) misled the public about the circumstances leading to the death of a 28-year-old man who had been arrested by local police three hours earlier.
The original statement from the MCPO did not mention that Highland Park police officers sprayed the man with a chemical agent, and it instead told the public an unsupported story that the officers "revived" the man, who was found lying in the middle of an intersection.
Cox avoided a trial where he may have faced more serious charges including attempted murder, cutting a plea agreement with Middlesex County Assistant Prosecutor Allysa Gambarella.