NEWARK, N.J. -- A man charged with attacking a New Jersey mom in her home as her daughter watched said little as he was arraigned Tuesday morning in Superior Court.
During Shawn Custis' brief appearance, he heard the charges against him: attempted murder, burglary, and endangering the welfare of a child. He will go before a grand jury next. The lead prosecutor for Essex County later told reporters that Custis had entered a not guilty plea.
Custis, 42, was arrested in Manhattan on Friday a week after the beating, part of which was caught on a nanny cam inside the Millburn, N.J., home.
"We believe it was his intent to kill the woman," said Chief Assistant Prosecutor Thomas Fennelly to reporters outside court.
In court, Custis wore a blue button-down shirt and muttered "yes" when the judge asked if he understood the charges against him. He made no additional statements.
Superior Court Judge Peter Vazquez set Custis' bail at $750,000.
Custis is accused of breaking into the home at 10 a.m. on June 21 and assaulting an unidentified woman in front of her 3-year-old daughter. Another child was elsewhere in the house at the time.
A hidden security camera, used for monitoring nannies and babysitters, recorded footage of a man punching and kicking the mother before throwing her down the basement stairs.
Essex County Prosecutor Carolyn Murray said the video was a large part -- but not all -- of the evidence leading to Custis' charges.
"The video shows what a violent crime looks like," she said outside the courtroom. "When people in the community see what it really looks like, that’s why we got the outpouring of assistance that we did."
The woman suffered a concussion, a leg injury, bruises and chipped teeth. She told reporters that she was afraid to cry out because if her daughter also screamed, she might be attacked too, according to the New York Daily News.
Custis was turned in by a girlfriend and other acquaintances who recognized him from the video, reports said.
Since the 1990s, he's been convicted 12 times on felony charges, including several burglaries, radio station New Jersey 101.5 said.
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