Trenton woman pleads guilty in Point Pleasant Beach drowning case
A Trenton woman has plead guilty to pushing her friend, who could not swim, into the deep end of a pool at the Beach Amethyst Motel in Point Pleasant Beach in July of 2017, according to the Ocean County Prosecutors Office.
Jelani Webster, 19, was caught on video surveillance pushing Anijyah Price, 23, of Newark into the water after a night of drinking they had with another friend.
Webster's guilty plea to 2nd degree Manslaughter may send her to prison for up to ten years, subject to the "No Early Release Act".
Price, Webster and Kyle Thompson had traveled to Point Pleasant Beach on July 10, 2017, rented a room at the motel and had a night of drinking.
Then all the sudden around 5:20 a.m., a 911 call was made by a motel guest reporting that someone was in the pool and not breathing.
The guests were awakened by a knock on their motel door.
The husband of the 911 caller jumped in the pool and pulled Price out.
Thompson said he didn't see how Price ended up in the deep end of the pool because he was walking back to their room when he heard a splash.
When he realized Price was in danger, Thompson, who said he's unable to swim, directed Webster to knock on doors to get help.
He climbed down one ladder rung and tried reaching in all the while still holding onto the ladder but was unable to get to Price.
During the course of the investigation, it was learned that Webster knew Price could not swim.
The case was presented to the Ocean County Grand Jury on October 25, 2017 who returned an indictment for Murder.
The defense filed a motion to dismiss the indictment and the Court granted the motion to dismiss the indictment April 3, 2018.
This plea agreement resulted from negotiations which took place as the State was preparing the case for presentation to another grand jury.
Supervising Assistant Prosecutor Terry Ann Linardakis represented the State. The defendant was represented by Terrance L. Turnbach, Esquire.
Webster is scheduled to be sentenced by the Honorable James N. Blaney, J.S.C., on June 29, 2018.
The public is reminded that criminal charges are merely accusations and the defendant is presumed innocent until proven guilty.
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