A Seaside Heights man has been sentenced to 22-years in prison for stabbing a Manchester resident in a drug deal gone wrong at the Surf and Stream Campground last October.

Ocean County Prosecutor Bradley Billhimer announced the sentenced Monday of John T. Mullen, Jr., 51, of Seaside Heights, as a result of his previously entered guilty plea to Aggravated Manslaughter.

This sentence is subject to the terms of the No Early Release Act, meaning Mullen has to serve at least 85 percent of his prison sentence before becoming considered eligible for for parole.

Mullen pled guilty to Aggravated Manslaughter on September 23.

On the night of the incident, October 20, 2019, Manchester Police responded to the campground after receiving multiple 911 calls about a body lying in the entrance driveway to the campground.

Upon arrival, officers found the body of Thomas J. Applegate, 34, of Manchester, lying in the driveway with a wound in his chest.

He was pronounced dead at the scene.

A joint investigation by 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 found that Mullen stabbed Applegate during the course of a drug deal, which ultimately resulted in his death.

“The law enforcement agencies involved in this investigation – through sheer hard work and resolve - swiftly identified Mullen as the individual responsible for Mr. Applegate’s death and quickly brought him into custody,” Prosecutor Billhimer said in a statement. “The exceptional teamwork displayed by these law enforcement professionals has brought about a lengthy state prison sentence for Mullen, which may, as Judge Ryan pointed out, effectively result in a life sentence given this defendant’s age and longstanding history of substance abuse,” Prosecutor Billhimer continued. “We hope this sentence affords the family of Mr. Applegate some level of peace and closure,” Prosecutor Billhimer concluded.

Ocean County Supervising Assistant Prosecutor Michael Abatemarco and Assistant Prosecutor Alyssa Mandara handled the case on behalf of the State.


You can follow Vin Ebenau on Twitter and Instagram and email news tips to vin.ebenau@townsquaremedia.com.

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