MOUNT HOLLY – Burlington County Prosecutor Scott Coffina announced that a Pemberton
Township man was sentenced yesterday to 30 years in New Jersey state prison for fatally shooting his former employer in the victim’s Tabernacle Township home during the summer of 2016.
David M. Stead, 44, of the 800 block of Pemberton-Browns Mills Road, must serve 85 percent of the sentence before becoming eligible for parole under the sentence handed down by the Hon. Terrence R. Cook, P.J.Cr.
Through an agreement with the Prosecutor’s Office, Stead pled guilty in July to Aggravated Manslaughter (First Degree) in exchange for the 30-year term. He admitted in Superior Court that he entered the Patty Bowker Road residence of Thomas Wright II, 49, in the early morning hours of July 1, 2016 with the intention of robbing him.
The investigation revealed that once inside, Stead shot Wright multiple times in the head and neck, then fled with a small amount of cash in a rented pickup truck that was being used by the victim. The truck was later discovered on Colemans Bridge Road less than a mile from Stead’s residence.
“As soon as this defendant entered the home, he opened fire on Mr. Wright,” Prosecutor Coffina said. “He didn’t say he was there to rob him. He didn’t even ask him for money. He just started shooting and ended his life, with no chance for Mr. Wright to defend himself. This senseless homicide has caused immense sadness for Mr. Wright’s family and friends, and our thoughts are with them as this matter comes to an end.”
The victim operated a business out of his residence known as Artisan Building Creations. His family checked on him after he failed to show up at a job site.
Stead was prosecuted by Burlington County Assistant Prosecutor Michael Angermeier. The investigation was conducted by detectives from the New Jersey State Police, with assistance from the Burlington County Prosecutor’s Office High-Tech Crimes Unit.
Stead has been lodged in the Burlington County Jail since his arrest.