Pemberton resident faces 30 years in prison

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Alan McGinnis, 27, of Pemberton, has pleaded guilty to first degree murder in the death of Cody MacPherson, 20, also of Pemberton, according to the Ocean County Prosecutor’s Office.

MacPherson’s remains were discovered in the Colliers Mills Wildlife Management Area in Jackson on March 29.

Ocean County Prosecutor Bradley D. Billhimer made the announcement regarding McGinnis’ guilty plea on Dec. 10. He said McGinnis will be sentenced to 30 years in state prison and will be required to serve all 30 years.

During his admission of guilt before the court, McGinnis admitted to stabbing MacPherson  in the neck and chest at a residence in Pemberton, Burlington County, on Sept. 24, 2017, according to the prosecutor.

McGinnis further admitted to placing MacPherson’s body into the trunk of a vehicle and dumping his body in a wooded area in Jackson, according to Billhimer.

MacPherson’s remains were found by a New Jersey Forest Fire Service district warden during a controlled burn on March 19. The controlled burn was being conducted in the area between 433 and 483 South Stump Tavern Road in Jackson.

Police said the district warden was preparing the area for the burn when he observed human remains under logs. He moved closer and saw what he believed to be a human skull. The district warden contacted his supervisor and requested a suppression team to respond to put out the burn to preserve the evidence.

Law enforcement personnel responded and secured the remains. An initial identification was made showing the remains were most likely those of MacPherson, according to authorities.

A post-mortem examination was conducted on March 20. The cause of death was ruled to be a stab wound to the left abdomen and the manner of death was ruled to be homicide. Dental work in the individual’s remains was consistent with MacPherson’s dental records, according to the prosecutor’s office.

On April 28, McGinnis was charged with murder following a multi-agency investigation conducted by numerous law enforcement officers, including Detective Scott Conover of the Jackson Police Department, according to the prosecutor.