Strict Liability Case Places Blame on Drug Dealer for Heroin Overdose Death
(FREEHOLD) An Avon-by-the-Sea man will be prosecuted under the state’s Strict Liability law placing the responsibility on him for the heroin overdose death of a man at a Rumson drug rehabilitation transitional center, announced Acting Monmouth County Prosecutor Christopher J. Gramiccioni.
Michael Renna, 25, of Sylvania Avenue in Avon, is charged with one count of first degree Strict Liability for Drug Induced Deaths and one count of third degree Distribution of a Controlled Dangerous Substance.
Renna is being held in the Monmouth County Correctional Institution, Freehold Township, on $210,000 bail, with no 10 percent option, as set by Monmouth County Superior Court Judge John R. Tassini, J.S.C..
Renna is charged in connection with the October 2013 overdose death of 25-year-old Christopher L. Pesce, a resident of Oxford House, a drug rehabilitation transitional house located in Rumson.
Rumson police responded to Oxford House, at 61 South Ward Ave., on October 13, 2013, at approximately 8:15 p.m., where officers located the deceased victim.
Rumson police immediately launched an investigation into the circumstances surrounding Pesce’s death with toxicology results obtained during a postmortem examination concluding Pesce’s death was caused by Acute Heroin Toxicity. Rumson Police, in conjunction with the Monmouth County Prosecutor’s Office, continued the investigation and ultimately determined the victim obtained the fatal doses of heroin from Renna, an acquaintance, in Asbury Park on the night of October 12, 2013, leading to the charges filed against him.
If convicted of Strict Liability for Drug Induced Deaths, Renna faces a maximum sentence of 20 years in a New Jersey state prison, subject to the provisions of the “No Early Release Act” (NERA), requiring him to serve 85 percent of the sentence imposed before becoming eligible for parole.
If convicted of Distribution of a Controlled Dangerous Substance, he faces a maximum of five years in a state prison.
Anyone with information related to this investigation should contact Detective Christopher Isherwood of the Rumson Police Department at (732) 842-0500 or Detective Kevin Condon of the Monmouth County
Prosecutor’s Office at (800) 533-7443.