Police have arrested a man whom they suspect of involvement in the death of William Akers, son of the mayor of Seaside Heights, New Jersey.
Responding to a call, they found the victim unconscious, surrounded by narcotics and drug paraphernalia. Interviews with witnesses, acquaintances and family members led investigators to Jason Brinson, whom they have charged with possession of narcotics and possession with intent to distribute. They did not specify publicly exactly what types of drugs were found at the scene.
The toxicology tests that are underway will help investigators understand how Akers died. If it emerges that he died of a drug overdose, additional charges could be brought. New Jersey has a “Strict Liability for Drug-Induced Death” law, which allows prosecutors to charge someone who manufactured or sold certain dangerous drugs with homicide if those substances result directly in a drug user’s death. Drugs covered by the statute include heroin, cocaine and methamphetamines.
Before any strict liability prosecution could proceed, the medical examiner would have to rule that the death was drug-induced. A spokesman for the prosecutor’s office declined to say whether Brinson supplied drugs to the victim or whether the two just used them together.
Drug possession and drug distribution are serious crimes potentially involving long prison terms. As this incident shows, the penalties can escalate when a drug user dies. If you are a suspect in a drugs case, or if you have been arrested, experienced defense counsel can advise you on how to get the best possible result and avoid making a difficult situation worse. The Burlington County, New Jersey criminal attorneys at Sitzler & Sitzler have expertise handling all aspects of drug crimes and the charges that may result, including homicide. Call us at (609) 267-1101 for a free confidential consultation or request a consultation online.