Ocean County Man Faces Jail Time In Drug-Related Death

Charles Rice (Photo courtesy Ocean County Jail)

  LACEY – A Lacey Township man is facing seven years in prison on a manslaughter charge after he sold a man a dose of heroin and fentanyl that proved to be fatal, announced Ocean County Prosecutor Bradley D. Billhimer.

  On December 9, 2019, 58-year old Charles Rice pleaded guilty to Manslaughter and Distribution of Heroin and Fentanyl charges before the Honorable Rochelle Gizinski, J.S.C.

  Sentencing is scheduled for February 14, 2020, where the State will recommend that Rice be sentenced to seven years in New Jersey State Prison on the Manslaughter charge subject to the No Early Release Act, as well as six years with a three-year-period of parole ineligibility relative to the Drug Distribution charge. The sentences are to run concurrently.

  On April 21, 2019, Berkeley Township Police responded to a residence for a report of an unresponsive male who was pronounced dead at the scene. Further investigation found that Rice had sold the victim a mixture of heroin and fentanyl which, when ingested, was the cause of the victim’s death.

  Prosecutor Billhimer would like to acknowledge the diligence of Senior Assistant Prosecutor Meghan O’Neill who handled the case on behalf of the State.  Prosecutor Billhimer likewise extends his gratitude to the Ocean County Prosecutor’s Office Major Crime Unit, Ocean County Prosecutor’s Office High Tech Crime Unit, Ocean County Prosecutor’s Office of Victim and Witness Advocacy, Berkeley Township Police Department Detective Bureau, and Ocean County Sheriff’s Office Crime Scene Investigation Unit for their collaborative assistance in bringing Rice to justice.