State Grand Jury Declines to Criminally Charge Officer in Connection with Fatal Crash in Pemberton on April 20, 2023

For Immediate Release: April 4, 2024

Office of the Attorney General
– Matthew J. Platkin, Attorney General
Office of Public Integrity and Accountability
– Thomas J. Eicher, Executive Director

For Further Information:

Media Inquiries-
Dan Prochilo

TRENTON – A state grand jury has voted not to file criminal charges at the conclusion of its deliberations regarding the death of John R. Nutt, 41, of Mount Laurel, New Jersey, who died in a motorcycle crash during an encounter with a Pemberton Township police officer in Pemberton, New Jersey, on April 20, 2023.

Mr. Nutt’s death was investigated by the Office of Public Integrity and Accountability (OPIA) and presented to New Jersey residents serving on the grand jury in accordance with the Independent Prosecutor Directive of 2019. In July 2021, OPIA issued standard operating procedures (SOPs) to ensure these grand jury presentations are conducted in a neutral, objective manner, with appropriate transparency regarding the process, consistent with the directive.

The investigation included witness interviews, photographs, review of video footage, and autopsy results from the medical examiner. This evidence, including video of the incident, was presented to a state grand jury. After hearing the testimony and evidence, the grand jury concluded its deliberations on April 1, 2024, and voted “no bill,” meaning jurors concluded no criminal charges should be filed against Officer LaQuan Jett of the Pemberton Township Police Department.

According to the investigation, the crash occurred in Pemberton, at approximately 5:02 p.m., on April 20, 2023, near the intersection of County Route 687 West and Davis Street. The collision happened after police received a 911 call alleging that Mr. Nutt had stolen a motorcycle. Upon receiving this information, Officer Jett located a motorcycle being driven by an individual later identified as Mr. Nutt, who had one passenger aboard. Officer Jett attempted to stop the motorcycle in connection with the investigation, but the motorcycle collided with an uninvolved minivan. The crash resulted in the death of Mr. Nutt, and left his passenger, whose identity is not being released, seriously injured. The passenger was airlifted to Cooper University Hospital in critical condition and was later released. The two occupants of the minivan declined medical treatment.

Footage from the events surrounding the incident were previously released. The recordings are available here:

N.J.S.A. 52:17B-107(a)(2) requires the Attorney General’s Office to conduct investigations of a person’s death that occurs during an encounter with a law enforcement officer acting in the officer’s official capacity or while the decedent is in custody. It requires that all such investigations be presented to a grand jury to determine if the evidence supports the return of an indictment against the officer or officers involved. The grand jury is instructed on the elements of the potential criminal offenses, including criminal homicide offenses, that could be brought and, as required by statutes, the grand jury is instructed on self-defense and other forms of legal justification.

A conflicts check was conducted pursuant to the Independent Prosecutor Directive and no actual or potential conflict of interest was found involving any individual assigned to the investigation. Prior to presentation to the grand jury, the investigation was reviewed by OPIA Executive Director Thomas Eicher in accordance with the policies and procedures established for these presentations in the SOPs.

At the conclusion of these investigations, pursuant to the Independent Prosecutor Directive and SOPs, OPIA determines whether any officer should be referred to the appropriate law enforcement agency for administrative review in accordance with the AG’s Internal Affairs Policy & Procedures. OPIA monitors any resulting review and takes such actions as are necessary to ensure that the review is completed in a timely fashion, and that appropriate actions are taken based on the results of the review.

The Independent Prosecutor Directive is posted on the Attorney General’s website and is available here: Independent Prosecutor Directive

OPIA’s standard operating procedures for grand jury presentations of investigations involving fatal police encounters are also posted on the Attorney General’s website, and are available here: OPIA Grand Jury SOPs


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