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Man sentenced for 2019 Somerset County murder

SOMERVILLE, NJ (Somerset County) – A Somerset County man was sentenced by the Honorable Peter J. Tober, P.J.Cr. on Friday for the murder of Terrence C. Coulanges, 29, of Old Bridge, and related offense following the guilty verdicts returned by a petit jury on April 26, according to Somerset County Prosecutor John P. McDonald.

McDonald said that prior to imposing sentence; Judge Tober denied Ryan D. Keogh’s motion for a judgment of acquittal and for a new trial and sentenced Keogh to the following:

  • On count one for first-degree murder, Judge Tober imposed a 50 year term of imprisonment.
  • On count two for possession of a handgun for an unlawful purpose, Judge Tober merged that count into count one for purposes of sentencing.
  • On count three for third-degree hindering oneself, he was sentenced to 5 years in prison concurrent to the term imposed for murder and the other counts.
  • On count four for third-degree endangering an injured victim, he was given a 3 year term in prison to be served consecutive to the term imposed for murder. This term was consecutive under New Jersey statutes.
  • On counts five, six, eight, nine for fourth-degree false swearing, he was sentenced to 18 months in prison concurrent to the sentence imposed for murder and other counts. He was acquitted on false swearing in count seven.
  • On count ten for fourth-degree tampering with physical evidence, he was sentenced to 18 months in prison concurrent to the sentence imposed for murder and other counts.
  • On count eleven for fourth-degree possession of a large capacity ammunition magazine, he received a concurrent 18 month sentence.

Judge Tober also ordered the payment of fines, penalties and restitution, McDonald said.

On January 9, 2019, at around 7:36 p.m., the Middlesex Borough Police Department received a 9-1-1 call reporting shots fired and a gunshot wound victim at a residence on Farm Lane in Bound Brook Borough, McDonald said.

Middlesex Borough authorities relayed the call to the Bound Brook police who responded and located Coulanges outside the residence with gunshot wounds to the right thigh and left chest, McDonald said.

Responding officers, along with medical personnel initiated life saving measures and subsequently transported the victim to Robert Wood Johnson Hospital in New Brunswick where he was pronounced dead, McDonald said.

Investigators interviewed numerous neighbors who reported hearing what turned out to be gunshots at 5:45 p.m. The investigation determined that defendant Ryan Keogh, along with his parents, left the residence on Farm Lane for a period of time after Coulanges was shot and before Cindy Keogh placed the 9-1-1 call at 7:36 p.m., McDonald said.

After Keogh shot Coulanges, the police were not called until 1 hour and 51 minutes had passed. He was found to have died as the result of gunshot wounds to the chest and thigh, McDonald said.

The Medical Examiner found the cause of death to be gunshot wounds and homicide to be the manner of death, McDonald said.

Keogh was arrested on February 14, 2019 following an investigation conducted by several law enforcement agencies, the Somerset County Prosecutor’s Office Major Crimes and Crimes Scene Investigation Units, the Bound Brook Police Department, and the Federal Bureau of Investigation, McDonald said.

On April 26, 2022, Keogh was found guilty by a jury of first-degree murder; second-degree possession of a firearm for an unlawful purpose; third-degree hindering apprehension or prosecution; third-degree endangering an injured victim; fourth-degree false swearing (4 of 5 counts); fourth-degree tampering with physical evidence; and fourth-degree unlawful possession of a large capacity ammunition magazine. He was acquitted of one of the counts against him – a sole count of fourth-degree false swearing, McDonald said.

The trial began on March 7, 2022 with jury selection and ended with the jury’s return of verdict on April 26, 2022.  After the jury returned its verdict and was discharged, the State moved to revoke the court’s order of Pretrial Detention entered on February 21, 2019, McDonald said.

Judge Tober granted the State’s motion and remanded Keogh to the Somerset County Jail where was lodged pending sentencing. Keogh was arrested for the aforesaid charges on February 14, 2019 and has been held in detention in the Somerset County Jail since that date, McDonald said.

Assistant Prosecutors Frank P. Kolodzieski II and Natacha Despinos-Peavey represented the State at trial and during all related proceedings.

Jay Edwards

Born and raised in Northwest NJ, Jay has a degree in Communications and has had a life-long interest in local radio and various styles of music. Jay has held numerous jobs over the years such as stunt car driver, bartender, voice-over artist, traffic reporter (award winning), NY Yankee maintenance crewmember and peanut farm worker. His hobbies include mountain climbing, snowmobiling, cooking, performing stand-up comedy and he is an avid squirrel watcher. Jay has been a guest on America’s Morning Headquarters,program on The Weather Channel, and was interviewed by Sam Champion.

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