The 56-year-old Colts Neck man charged with murdering a Staten Island man in his Central Avenue, Barnegat Light vacation home in 2015 has been convicted. Conrad R. Sipa was found guilty April 4 of murdering Richard Doody, 60, a retired lieutenant in the New York City Fire Department sometime between Nov. 21 and 23, just before Thanksgiving 2015.
New York newspapers at the time reported the men knew each other well, which eased the shock somewhat among Barnegat Light residents who made sure to lock doors then in the off-season quiet of the community.
A jury in Ocean County Superior Court determined April 4 that Sipa was guilty of “employing the use of deadly weapon(s), specifically a knife and a lamp, in the commission of the murder,” according to the Ocean County Prosecutor’s Office. In addition to finding him guilty of murder, the jury found Sipa guilty of two counts of possession of a weapon for an unlawful purpose, one count of unlawful possession of a weapon, hindering his apprehension or prosecution, and tampering with physical evidence.
The Staten Island Advance online news, silive.com, reported more details April 4,quoting reports that the victim was found “with his head bashed in and his throat slit.”
Sipa had been out on $1 million bail while awaiting trial. He was taken into custody and lodged in the Ocean County Jail. Sipa is scheduled to be sentenced by Superior Court Judge Rochelle Gizinski on June 14, at which time he faces a sentence of life in prison, said the Ocean County Prosecutor’s Office.
On the night Doody’s body was found, Long Beach Township police had knocked on the door of his house at 2204 Central Ave. for a “well-being check” after the man not been heard from in two days, said a report from the prosecutor’s office that week. His body was found on the floor when police gained entry.
Deed records showed Doody had purchased the Barnegat Light home in January 2015, the same year of his murder.
According to testimony at the murder trial, authorities at the scene recovered a light bulb in a trash can that had Sipa’s bloody fingerprint on it, a bloody knife in the kitchen sink and a bucket filled with bloody ceramic pieces and a snapped golf club, NJ.com reported.
Prosecutors said in court that they did not have a motive for the attack, according to the silive.com news account, but that a motive is not required to present a murder conviction. The report added that Sipa’s defense attorneys, Daniel M. Rosenberg and Robert Perry, argued that Sipa had acted in self-defense and was in a fight for his life when Doody was killed.
Reports said the courtroom was filled with a standing-room-only crowd when the verdict was read.
“In rendering its verdict, the jury, which deliberated for approximately two hours, concluded beyond a reasonable doubt that Sipa purposely or knowingly caused the death of Mr. Doody, or that he purposely or knowingly caused serious bodily injury to Mr. Doody which resulted in Mr. Doody’s death,” stated the prosecutor’s office.
Ocean County Prosecutor Bradley D. Billhimer credited investigators and officials involved in the case.
The prosecutor “applauds the diligence and dedication of Supervising Assistant Prosecutor Patrick Sheehan and Senior Assistant Prosecutor Meghan O’Neill, who ably and skillfully tried the case on behalf of the State.
“The Prosecutor likewise extends his gratitude to Detective John Murphy and the full staff of the Ocean County Prosecutor’s Office Major Crime Unit, as well as Detective Sergeant Ron Hullings and the entire Long Beach Township Police Department, for their diligence and professionalism in investigating and solving this heinous and senseless crime.
“Prosecutor Billhimer would also like to thank the Ocean County Sheriff’s Department Crime Scene Unit. Finally, Prosecutor Billhimer would like to thank Allison Betts, a Victim-Witness Advocate for the Ocean County Prosecutor’s Office, for the compassion and assistance she has demonstrated toward the family of Richard Doody during these very difficult and painful three and one-half years.”
Doody, who also owned a home in Tottenville, N.Y., was once honored for his role in pulling a 260-pound college football player from a car heavily damaged in a crash and saving his life. Doody had spent several weeks at Ground Zero working on “the pile” after the terrorist attacks of 9/11, reports also noted.