The Cassidy Law Firm Blog

Tuesday, June 3, 2014

Ocean County Prosecutors Charge Three in Drug Induced Death

Ocean County Prosecutor Joseph D. Coronato recently announced that three men have been charged in connection with the February 6, 2013 drug induced death of 23 year old Jamie Caravella of Toms River. Two of the men, Rufus A. Young, 41, of Freehold and Pedro A. Valentin Jr, 23, of Perth Amboy, New Jersey have been arrested. Warrants have been issued for the third suspect, Paul E. Robinson, 24, of Toms River, New Jersey. All three suspects face serious charges relating to the death of the young woman.

The charges against the three men stem from an investigation that began back in the early morning hours of February 6, 2013. At around 5:00 a.m. that day the Toms River Police Department received a 911 call indicating that a female was unresponsive. When law enforcement officers arrived on the scene they found the 23 year old woman, later identified as Jamie Caravella, on the floor of the bedroom. The victim had no pulse and was not breathing when officers arrived. Officers also found empty bags of heroin along with a needle near the victim. The victim was pronounced dead shortly after medics arrived on the scene. The day after the victims was found dead a post-mortem examination was conducted by the Office of the Ocean County Medical Examiner where the cause of death was determined to be a negative reaction to heroin.

Young, Valentin, and Robinson are charged with First Degree Drug Induced Death and Second Degree Manslaughter. Robinson is also charged with Distribution of Heroin.

New Jersey’s Strict Liability for Drug-Induced Deaths

In New Jersey, the law can hold you responsible for a death if you provided the drugs that caused the death. Specifically, New Jersey Statute 2C:35-9 reads, in pertinent part:

“Any person who manufactures, distributes or dispenses methamphetamine, lysergic acid diethylamide, phencyclidine or any other controlled dangerous substance classified in Schedules I or II, or any controlled substance analog thereof, in violation of subsection a. of N.J.S. 2C:35-5, is strictly liable for a death which results from the injection, inhalation or ingestion of that substance, and is guilty of a crime of the first degree.”

If you have been charged with a drug-induced death in Ocean County it is imperative that you consult with an experienced Ocean County criminal defense attorney immediately. Though the charges against you are serious, you may have a defense under the statute. Only an experienced criminal defense attorney can evaluate the facts and circumstances of your case and provide you with your legal options and possible defenses.

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