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Inmate gets 20-year sentence for plotting to kill prosecutor who put him behind bars

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TOMS RIVER, New Jersey — A New Jersey inmate who is serving time for killing his neighbor has now received another lengthy sentence for plotting to kill the prosecutor who put him in prison.

State Superior Court Judge Francis Vernoia handed down a 20-year sentence to Jay Goldberg, calling the 64-year-old Little Egg Harbor resident a "selfish human being willing to take whatever action necessary to help himself."

Goldberg was convicted in June on conspiracy and attempted murder charges. The sentence he received will run consecutive to a 20-year term he's now serving for the 2009 killing of Sarkis Shahinian, with whom he had a marijuana-growing business.

Prosecutors said that while Goldberg was in jail awaiting sentencing after his 2012 trial, he arranged with another inmate and a third person, whom he thought was a hit man, to kill assistant Ocean County Prosecutor Steven Cucci. But the alleged hit man was an undercover detective from the Monmouth County prosecutor's office.

Cucci, who has since retired from the prosecutor's office, testified he received a letter from the inmate reporting that Goldberg had asked for help having Cucci killed.

When Goldberg met the purported hit man, prosecutors said, he gave the man a letter to give to Goldberg's sister and brother-in-law asking for $15,000. Their conversation was recorded.

Goldberg testified at the trial that he never intended to hurt Cucci and said he was coerced.

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