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Hammonton mother, son held in brutal beating that paralyzed man

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A Hammonton mother and son accused of robbing and beating a man were ordered held in jail Thursday.

Brenda Luker, 43, and her 18-year-old son, Tyrone Bard, allegedly chased the victim, beat him and stole money, a cell phone and his sneakers.

Police were called at about 1 a.m. May 8, as the victim was heading to the hospital.

He suffered two broken cheek bones, a broken nose, internal bleeding and is not able to use either of his legs or his right arm due to no signal being sent to his brain, according to the affidavits of probable cause obtained by BreakingAC.

The man told police that it was a drug deal gone bad and that he met the two to buy marijuana.

But Luker told police that she is a sex worker and the victim is a regular customer, the affidavit states.

She alleged that he touched her inappropriately and would not stop. She said she then found he only had $10 with him.

At that point, Luker told police she struck the victim.

Brenda Luker attempted to talk to the judge after he made his decision, but he told her to return to her pod.

"Ms. Luker repeated numerous times her son had nothing to do with striking the victim with the exception of pushing him," Sgt. Robert Zbikowski wrote in the affidavit. "She made that comment numerous times without even questioning Ms. Luker if Mr. Bard was involved."

The video surveillance tells a different story, according to the affidavits.

In it, the mother and son are seen "striking and chasing" the victim, the investigator writes.

Neither the affidavit nor information presented during the hearings indicated where the incident happened.

Bard's attorney took issue with the defense not being shown the video.

"We really want to get that video," Cary Shill said, noting that he had asked for it days ago, when the first detention hearing was postponed.

"This is an 18-year-old kid who maintains his innocence," he said. "I don't see why the state can't provide it, especially if the officer in Hammonton saw it on the first day."

Shill noted that the incident happened around 1 a.m. in low-lighting.

But the state is not required to present video evidence at detention hearings, "only a statement that summarizes its contents," Assistant Prosecutor Katrina Koerner said.

"I'll ask, 'How often are reports different than what’s shown on video?'" Shill replied.

While Luker told police her son did not strike the victim, defense attorney Sarah Weinstock noted that her client's size makes it unlikely she could have done such damage.

Judge Bernard DeLury ordered both held as their case goes through the court.

"This was a particularly violent episode," he said. "The injuries alleged are very serious and appear to have paralyzed the victim. It bespeaks to a very profound risk to public safety.”

Bard is additionally charged with resisting arrest after he allegedly fled police when the tried to arrest him walking with his bike near his Orchard Street home.


Lynda Cohen

Lynda Cohen founded BreakingAC after working as a local newspaper reporter for more than two decades. She is an NJPA award-winner and was a Stories of Atlantic City fellow.

Monday, April 15, 2024
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