Ocean County officials announced that John T. Mullen, Jr., 51, of Seaside Heights, was sentenced to twenty-two years in New Jersey State Prison by the Honorable Guy P. Ryan, J.S.C., as a result of his previously entered guilty plea to Aggravated Manslaughter. This sentence is subject to the terms of the No Early Release Act, meaning that Mullen will be required to serve at least 85 percent of his prison sentence before he may be considered for parole eligibility. Mullen pled guilty to Aggravated Manslaughter before Judge Ryan on September 23.
According to. officials, on October 20, 2019, Manchester Township Police responded to the Surf and Stream Campground after receiving multiple 911 calls about a body lying in the entrance driveway to the campground. Upon arrival, Manchester patrol units found the body of Thomas J. Applegate, 34, of Manchester, lying in the driveway of the Surf and Stream Campground with a wound in his chest. The victim was pronounced dead at the scene.
A joint investigation by the Ocean County Prosecutor’s Office Major Crime Unit, Ocean County Prosecutor’s Office High Tech Crime Unit, Manchester Police Department, and Ocean County Sheriff’s Office Crime Scene Investigation Unit determined that Mullen stabbed Mr. Applegate during the course of a drug deal, which ultimately resulted in his death.
“The law enforcement agencies involved in this investigation – through sheer hard work and resolve - swiftly identified Mullen as the individual responsible for Mr. Applegate’s death and quickly brought him into custody,” Prosecutor Billhimer said.
“The exceptional teamwork displayed by these law enforcement professionals has brought about a lengthy state prison sentence for Mullen, which may, as Judge Ryan pointed out, effectively result in a life sentence given this defendant’s age and longstanding history of substance abuse,” Prosecutor Billhimer said. “We hope this sentence affords the family of Mr. Applegate some level of peace and closure,” Prosecutor Billhimer concluded.