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Judge finds Hackensack ex-con in hammer attack, police chase is flight risk

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

EXCLUSIVE: With his former girlfriend watching from a wheelchair, her head wrapped in bandages, a Hackensack ex-con who authorities said hit her in the head with a hammer before leading police on a chase last month was brought into court today.

Besides attempted murder, Mark Hunt, 51, is charged with armed robbery, eluding and weapons possession.

Teaneck police said they found the Irvington Road victim with several skull fractures following the pre-dawn Feb. 22 attack. She’d lost a lot of blood, they said.

Hunt took $1,100 in cash and her car, then hid out in Maywood for a few days, authorities 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.

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

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 at North Ewing Avenue in Franklin Lakes and it slammed into a tree. He was taken into custody after a brief struggle, Molinelli said.

Defense attorney Robert N. Kalisch of the state Public Defender’s Office entered a “not guilty” plea on Hunt’s behalf this afternoon.

Kalisch disputed the armed robbery charge, saying it was actually a dispute over money. He also said the woman had a knife and that Hunt “freaked out.”

He asked Presiding Superior Court Judge Liliana DeAvila-Silebi to cut Hunt’s $500,000 bail in half, with a 10% option.

Assistant Bergen County Prosecutor Danielle Grootenboer countered that Hunt’s extensive rap sheet includes a prior conviction for escape.

“Nothing says flight risk like a felony conviction for escape,” she said.

Grootenboer also said that Hunt has no permanent address and that she “stopped counting after five felonies” on his record.

That record includes:

  • 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.

In this case, Grootenboer said, the beating was near-fatal.

Although Kalisch claimed the victim was hit “a couple of times,” she said it was “not once or twice but repeatedly.”

DeAvila-Silebi maintained the $500,000 bail and Bergen County Sheriff’s officers returned Hunt to the county jail.

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

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