Skip to main content

Trenton Man Pleads Guilty to Manslaughter in Fentanyl-Related Death


By: Richard L. Smith 

Ocean County Prosecutor Bradley D. Billhimer announced that Ryan Thompson, a 35-year-old Trenton resident, has pleaded guilty to manslaughter charges in connection with a fentanyl-related death in Berkeley Township.Ice CreamThe plea was entered before Judge Kimarie Rahill on March 4, 2024, marking a significant development in a case that began with the discovery of a 55-year-old male victim on September 29, 2023.

The tragic incident unfolded when Berkeley Township Police responded to a call at a home on Torrey Pines Drive, finding the victim deceased from what appeared to be a drug overdose.

Investigations led by the Ocean County Prosecutor's Office, alongside local police forces, pinpointed Thompson and two co-defendants, Michael Wormann, 38, of Toms River, and Tina Martinez, 61, of Trenton, as being involved in distributing fentanyl to the victim the day before his death.

Wormann was the first to be apprehended, facing charges for the distribution and possession of fentanyl, followed by Martinez, charged with conspiracy to distribute.

Both were released pending future court appearances due to New Jersey's Bail Reform policies. Thompson, however, has been in custody since his arrest, with his sentencing scheduled for May 3, 2024. The State intends to seek a seven-year term in New Jersey State Prison, adhering to the No Early Release Act.

The case against Thompson was strengthened by toxicology reports confirming fentanyl in the victim's system, directly linking the drug to his death.

As a result, charges were also adjusted to reflect the involvement of Thompson, Wormann, and Martinez in the fatal incident.

As Thompson awaits sentencing, the legal proceedings against Wormann and Martinez continue, with both defendants maintaining their presumption of innocence until proven guilty.