A Seaside Heights man faces 30-years in prison after pleading guilty to Aggravated Manslaughter for stabbing a Manchester man last October who died at the entrance to the Surf and Stream Campground, Ocean County Prosecutor Bradley Billhimer announced on Wednesday.

John T. Mullen Jr., 51, of Seaside Heights, stabbed 34-year old Thomas Applegate during a drug deal gone wrong.

He was arrested following a multi-jurisdictional investigation between 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.

Manchester Police were first on scene last October 20 after receiving multiple 911 calls about a body lying in the entrance driveway to the campground.

Patrol units found Applegate lying in the driveway with a wound in his chest.

He was pronounced dead at the scene.

Prosecutor Billhimer commends the fine work of Supervising Assistant Prosecutor Michael Abatemarco and Assistant Prosecutor Alyssa Mandara who handled the case on behalf of the State, as well as the collaborative efforts of the Ocean County Prosecutor’s Office Major Crime Unit, Ocean County Prosecutor’s Office High Tech Crime Unit, Ocean County Prosecutor’s Office Victim Witness Advocacy Unit, Manchester Township Police Department, and Ocean County Sheriff’s Office Crime Scene Investigation Unit, who collectively did an outstanding job investigating and resolving this matter.

“Through good old-fashioned police work, these law enforcement agencies – acting together - expeditiously solved this heinous crime and identified Mullen as the individual responsible for Mr. Applegate’s death,” Prosecutor Billhimer said in prepared remarks. “As a result of their tremendous teamwork, for which I am extremely grateful, this dangerous man was swiftly apprehended, and will now be required to answer for his crime with a lengthy state prison sentence. Justice for Mr. Applegate and his family will be served."

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