Burlington County Prosecutor Scott Coffina announced that a Trenton man was sentenced to prison for his connection to the death of a Mansfield Township resident.
Coffina released a Sept. 20 announcement that 29-year-old Darius Beckett was a Trenton drug dealer who was sentenced to eight years in prison for the distribution of heroin to a Mansfield resident’s fatal overdose last summer, which ultimately caused his death.
The county prosecutor reported that Beckett pled guilty on July 30 to strict liability for drug-induced death (first degree) and making terroristic threats (third degree). Under the sentence imposed by the Judge Philip E. Haines, Beckett is subject to the state’s No Early Release Act and must serve 85% of the term before becoming eligible for parole.
The sentence served to Beckett resulted from an incident, which occurred on Aug. 12, 2018, where officials from the prosecutor’s office reported that the Mansfield Township Police Department were dispatched to White Pine Road in the Columbus section of the township for a report of an unresponsive adult male. Upon arrival, officers reported that they discovered the body of 25-year-old James Walton Jr. in his bedroom with a hypodermic needle near his body.
Burlington County Medical Examiner Dr. Ian Hood determined the cause of death to be fentanyl toxicity, and an investigation revealed that the heroin that killed Walton was purchased from Beckett, according to the prosecutor’s office officials.
Following the sentence charged to Beckett in a Sept. 20 superior court decision, Coffina released a statement to express his stance on the matter.
“I’d like to acknowledge the outpouring of support for [Walton Jr.] by so many of his family members and friends in court today, where his sister, Kylie, so eloquently expressed their profound loss,” Coffina said. “We are doing everything within our power to help end the misery and destruction caused by opioids and other illicit drugs. Prosecuting dealers whose products lead to fatal overdoses will continue to be a top priority of our office.”
Officials reported that the case was prosecuted by assistant prosecutor Jeremy Lackey. The investigation was conducted by the Mansfield Township Police Department, the BCPO Gang, Gun and Narcotics Task Force and the BCPO High-Tech Crimes Unit.