MAYS LANDING – Michael Garland was sentenced Friday, November 15, 2019, to an aggregate 14 years in New Jersey State Prison for the aggravated assault of a man, Atlantic County Prosecutor Damon G. Tyner said.
The Honorable Donna M. Taylor J.S.C., sentenced Garland, 46, to an aggregate term of 14 years in New Jersey State Prison. On the aggravated assault count, the defendant was sentenced to 9 years in New Jersey State Prison with an 85 percent period of parole ineligibility pursuant to the No Early Release Act. On the endangering an injured victim count, the defendant was sentenced to a consecutive term of 5 years in New Jersey State Prison. The remaining counts and motor vehicle summonses were either merged or ran concurrent.
At approximately 1:25 a.m. on January 1, 2019, officers from the Atlantic City Police Department responded to the fourth floor of the self-parking garage located at the Golden Nugget Casino & Marina. Upon arriving, officers observed 25-year-old Raymond Rivera lying in the parking garage near a barrier wall. A vehicle with extensive front-end damage was adjacent to Rivera, who had sustained multiple lower body injuries. Rivera was subsequently transported to the Atlanticare Regional Medical Center where he underwent surgery for two broken legs.
An investigation revealed that a man, later identified as the defendant Michael Garland, 46, had run the vehicle into Rivera following an altercation between the men. The witnesses reported Rivera had reached into the car and threw a punch at the defendant, who was seated in the driver’s seat. The defendant hit the accelerator on the vehicle as Rivera was walking in front of the car. After hitting Rivera, the defendant continued driving. He pushed Rivera into the side of a parked SUV. The defendant then got out and ran inside the casino.
Upon arrival of the officers, Garland was located inside the casino where he had approached security personnel. Garland stated he had been assaulted by Rivera and others and had hit the accelerator because he was in fear for his safety. At trial, Garland testified and claimed self-defense.
Atlantic City Police Officer Fitzroy Simpson investigated the collision. He administered Field Sobriety Tests and a breath test. The defendant’s blood alcohol level was determined to be .11%. A jury convicted Garland of aggravated assault, endangering an injured victim, assault by auto while driving intoxicated, and causing serious bodily injury while driving with a suspended license.
Assistant Prosecutor Chris Santo D’Esposito represents the state in this matter.
The investigation was a cumulative effort by the Atlantic City Police Department and Detectives Denise Manino and Nina Mitchell of the Atlantic County Prosecutor’s Office.
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.