Ocean County Prosecutor Bradley D. Billhimer announced that Charles Rice, 58, of Lacey Township, was sentenced today by the Honorable Rochelle Gizinski, J.S.C., to seven years New Jersey State Prison (NJSP) as a result of a guilty plea to Manslaughter.
Officials say Rice must serve at least 85 percent of his sentence before he may be considered for parole eligibility pursuant to the No Early Release Act.
Additionally, Rice was sentenced by Judge Gizinski to six years NJSP with a three-year period of parole ineligibility as a result of his guilty plea to Distribution of Heroin and Fentanyl. The sentences will run concurrently. Rice pled guilty to both charges on December 9, 2019.
According to officials, on Sunday, April 21, 2019, Berkeley Township Police were summoned to a residence for a report of an unresponsive male who was pronounced dead at the scene.
An investigation by the Ocean County Prosecutor’s Office Major Crime Unit and the Berkeley Township Police Department Detective Bureau revealed that Rice had sold the victim a mixture of heroin and fentanyl -- the ingestion of which was determined to be the cause of the victim’s death according to officials.
“This particular defendant sold heroin that contained fentanyl, which ultimately caused the victim’s death. We have been very clear that we will continue to arrest and prosecute individuals that pedal illegal and sometimes deadly narcotics in Ocean County,” Prosecutor Billhimer stated.