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Another month to discuss plea deal for Hackensack ex-con accused in hammer attack on girlfriend, police chase

Photo Credit: CLIFFVIEW PILOT Courthouse Reporter Mary K. Miraglia
Photo Credit: CLIFFVIEW PILOT Courthouse Reporter Mary K. Miraglia

CVP EXCLUSIVE: A judge today gave a defense attorney another month to try and strike a plea deal after he rejected an offer of 20 years in state prison — 17 without parole — for a Hackensack man who police said hit his girlfriend in the head with a ball-peen hammer before stealing her car and a chase that ended in a crash.

Assistant Prosecutor Danielle Grootenboer told the Presiding Superior Court Judge Susan J. Steele that a counter-officer made by defense attorney Robert Kalisch on behalf of 52-year-old Mark Hunt was unacceptable.

“However,” she said, “I think it would be productive if we continue talking, and I would like to ask for one more date.”

Kalisch ( above, left ) later told CLIFFVIEW PILOT that he is seeking parole eligibility after 12½ years in exchange for guilty pleas to second-degree assault, with a 10-year prison term, and eluding police, for an additional eight.

Hunt, who is accused of attempted murder, among other charges, left the Teaneck woman critically injured with multiple skull fractures, authorities said after the Feb. 25, 2014 incident.

CLIFFVIEW PILOT first broke the story: Route 208 crash, arrest ends chase of Teaneck attempted murder suspect

He then stole her 2006 Honda Pilot and $1,100 in cash and fled, hiding out in Maywood, they said.

Four days later, a Maywood police officer spotted the vehicle on Beech Street in town and tried pulling it over – but Hunt hit the gas and sped off, Bergen County Prosecutor John L. Molinelli said at the time.

Paramus and other agencies joined the chase after it moved through Paramus, onto Route 4 West and, ultimately, onto Route 208 West, the prosecutor said.

Hunt lost control of the car on Route 208 at North Ewing Avenue in Franklin Lakes and it slammed into a tree. He was taken into custody after a brief struggle, Molinelli said.

Although the victim’s condition later improved to stable, the woman lost a great deal of blood, he said.

Besides attempted murder, Hunt is charged with armed robbery, eluding and weapons possession. His bail has remained at $500,000.

He has challenged the armed robbery charge, saying it was actually a dispute over money. Kalisch has claimed that the woman had a knife and that his client “freaked out.”

Hunt had an extensive criminal record before then:

2008: guilty plea to assault;
2006: burglary;
2003: theft;
2002: theft charges downgraded; pleaded guilty to obstruction of government operations;
1999: theft charges downgraded;
1997: guilty plea to theft;
1994: theft charge dismissed in plea bargain.

In Passaic County he pleaded guilty to theft in 2000 and had another charge of theft merged the same year, records show.

Both sides are due back in court in Hackensack June 15.

STORY / PHOTOS: CLIFFVIEW PILOT Courthouse Reporter Mary K. Miraglia

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