NEWARK, N.J. (AP) — A man charged with brutally attacking a New Jersey woman as she watched cartoons with her 3-year-old — a beating captured on a hidden camera — pleaded not guilty to multiple charges Tuesday.
Shawn Custis, 42, entered not guilty pleas to attempted murder, robbery, burglary and child endangerment in Essex County Superior Court. He was ordered held on $750,000 bail following his arrest Friday in Manhattan.
The June 21 attack in Millburn was captured on a so-called "nanny cam" hidden inside the home's living room.
The recording shows the woman sitting on a couch watching television with her child, then getting up to investigate a noise in the back of the house. She backs up toward the couch as a man comes into the room and starts savagely beating her
The recording then shows the man going upstairs where authorities said he rifled through the family's belongings. The video shows him coming downstairs multiple times, beating the woman and finally throwing her down a flight of stairs and eventually running out the front door.
The child cowers on the couch the entire time. Police said a 1-year-old was sleeping upstairs.
"We believe it was his intent to kill the mother," said Essex County Chief Assistant Prosecutor Thomas Fennelly, at a news conference. A public defender representing Custis did not comment after the hearing.
Essex County Prosecutor Carolyn Murray said she does not know why the camera was taping while the mother, whose name is being withheld, was home with the children. But more and more people are employing this type of technology in their homes, she said.
"The video is very helpful and increasingly there is video evidence. People in the community who are inclined to do criminal acts should probably be aware that it's often a help for us," Murray said. "The video shows what violent crime looks like."
Prosecutors said the woman is out of the hospital.
"The family is intact, they're together," Fennelly said. "They're trying to move on."