MAYS LANDING—The murder trial of Brian Wakefield for the 2001 killings of Shirley and Richard Hazard of Pleasantville was the final trial in New Jersey where a defendant was sentenced to death. In 2003, Acting Atlantic County Prosecutor Cary Shill successfully prosecuted this trial and also forged a longtime friendship with the family members of victims Shirley and Richard Hazard. Acting Prosecutor Shill said the Hazards and their family members are victims who he will never forget. National Crime Victims’ Rights Week is a time each year when Acting Prosecutor Shill pauses to remember and honor the Shirley and Richard Hazard and their family.
Victims Shirley and Richard Hazard will be remembered and honored, along with their family at the Atlantic County Prosecutor’s Office National Crime Victims’ Rights Week Commemoration Program on April 27, 2022.
“We worked day and night on this case. I did not want to disappoint the family. They wanted justice in the murders of their parents and they deserved justice,” said Acting Atlantic County Prosecutor Cary Shill who began his career 1989, with the Atlantic County Prosecutor’s Office.
ACPO Chief of County Investigators Bruce DeShields said when the investigation of the murders began he saw how hard it was for the Hazard family members.
“The Hazard family was a big family and their parents are murdered and I could see how painful it was for all of them. I kept telling the Hazard family to trust the system, to trust us and let us do our job to get justice,” Chief DeShields said.
Sharon Hazard Johnson—daughter of victims Shirley and Richard—said the murder investigation of her parents 21 years ago was an all hands-on deck approach by the Atlantic County Prosecutor’s Office.
“The fact that you all worked with us and let us know what was going on, on a daily basis, we are indebted to the Atlantic County Prosecutor’s Office,” said Sharon Hazard Johnson.
On March 4, 2004, Wakefield was sentenced to death, for the stabbing and beating deaths of Shirley Hazard, 64, and Richard Hazard, 70. Wakefield is currently serving a parole-ineligible life sentence for the murders as his 2004 death sentence was commuted when New Jersey outlawed executions in 2007.
**Victims Shirley and Richard Hazard will be remembered, along with their family at the ACPO National Crime Victims’ Rights Week Commemoration Program on April 27, 2022 at 12 p.m., at the outdoor entrance staircase of Atlantic County Superior Court, Mays Landing, NJ
Join us for remarks from Acting Atlantic County Prosecutor Cary Shill, ACPO Chief of County Investigators Bruce K. DeShields, Michael Hazard, son of Shirley and Richard Hazard.
Anyone with information involving serious crimes is asked to call the Atlantic County Prosecutor’s Office at 609-909-7800 or go to the Prosecutor’s Office Web site at http://www.acpo.org/tips.html and provide information by filling out the form anonymously on the Submit a Tip page. People can also call Crime Stoppers at 609-652-1234 or 1-800-658-8477 (TIPS) or visit the Crime Stoppers Website at http://www.crimestoppersatlantic.com/. Crime Stoppers offers cash rewards for information leading to the arrest and indictment of those who commit crimes in Atlantic County.