TOMS RIVER – A Berkeley Township man pleaded guilty in relation to two overdose deaths.
Cody Lessing, 26, pleaded guilty to two counts of first-degree strict liability drug-induced death in the overdoses of Keith Tandberg, 45, and James Tice Jr., 29, both of Berkeley Township.
Lessing entered his plea Jan. 29 before Hon. Guy P. Ryan, Ocean County Prosecutor Bradley D. Billhimer said. He’s scheduled to be sentenced April 24.
Police were called Feb. 24 to Tandberg’s home after a roommate found him unresponsive. He was pronounced dead on the scene. Less than 24 hours later, police were dispatched to Tice’s residence, where his father found him unresponsive. He too was pronounced dead at the scene.
Detective from the prosecutor’s office and local police department traced the heroin and fentanyl taken by both men back to Lessing, who sold it to them hours before their deaths. “As I have previously vowed, we are committed to the relentless pursuit and prosecution of all individuals selling illegal narcotics in Ocean County. The continuing presence of Fentanyl and the alarming rise in opioid related deaths require this approach. We are satisfied that Lessing has been brought to justice. Our sympathy lies with two families dealing with the tragic loss of a family member,” Billhimer said.