Ocean County Prosecutor Bradley D. Billhimer announced that on September 23, 2020, John T. Mullen Jr., 51, of Seaside Heights, pled guilty to Aggravated Manslaughter in violation of N.J.S.A. 2C:11-4, before the Honorable Guy P. Ryan, J.S.C.  At the time of his sentencing on November 30, 2020,  the State will be seeking a sentence of 30 years in New Jersey State Prison, subject to the terms of the No Early Release Act, N.J.S.A. 2C:43-7.2.

On October 20, 2019, Manchester Township Police responded to the Surf and Stream Campground after receiving multiple 911 calls about a body lying in the entrance driveway to the campground.  Upon arrival, Manchester patrol units found the body of Thomas J. Applegate, 34, of Manchester, lying in the driveway of the Surf and Stream Campground with a wound in his chest.  The victim 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 determined that Mullen stabbed Mr. Applegate during the course of a drug deal, which ultimately resulted in his death.

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 stated.  “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,” Prosecutor Billhimer concluded.