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Former Seaside Heights Man Guilty in Toms River Murder Over Drug Debt

Shakar “Anthony” Barksdale (Photo: OCPO)

Shakar “Anthony” Barksdale (Photo: OCPO)

A former Seaside Heights man, most recently living in New York, has been found guilty of murdering a Brick Township man in a Toms River apartment in 2018.

Shakar “Anthony” Barksdale, 26, was found guilty Monday in the murder of Steven Stallworth following a jury trial before the Superior Court Judge Guy P. Ryan. The murder occurred in Toms River at the Hampton Gardens apartment complex on James Street, on March 5, 2018.

In rendering its verdict, the jury concluded that Barksdale purposely or knowingly caused the death of Stallworth, who was found unresponsive outside an apartment and died of a gunshot wound. The jury also found Barksdale guilty of conspiracy to commit murder, unlawful possession of a weapon, and possession of a weapon for an unlawful purpose. Barksdale will continue to remain lodged in the Ocean County Jail pending sentencing by Ryan on Aug. 19, 2020, at which time the state will be seek a sentence of life imprisonment.

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During the course of the ensuing investigation two suspects – Barksdale and another man, Sevon Hill, 25 at the time – were identified as persons of interest in the case, and ultimately charged. According to prosecutors, both suspects were residing at a local hotel prior to the murder. During a search of the suspects’ hotel room on the night of the murder, a large quantity of cocaine and heroin were discovered.

Hill cooperated with prosecutors and testified against Barksdale.

The suspects reportedly owed tens of thousands of dollars in debt to Stallworth over previous drug deals and committed the murder to wipe out the debt, prosecutors alleged in court.

“I am extremely proud of the team effort exhibited by members of my office and the other law enforcement agencies involved in bringing Anthony Barksdale to justice,” Ocean County Prosecutor Bradley Billhimer said in a statement. “This was a horrendous murder, and Mr. Stallworth’s family has been forced to endure much suffering as a result. I hope this guilty verdict provides them with some level of peace and closure.”

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