Burlington County Prosecutor Scott Coffina announced that a Trenton drug dealer pled guilty today in Superior Court to causing the death of a customer by supplying the heroin that led to the Mansfield resident’s fatal overdose last summer.
Under an agreement with the Prosecutor’s Office, Darius Beckett, 29, of Academy Street, pled guilty to Strict Liability for Drug-Induced Death (First Degree) and Making Terroristic Threats (Third Degree) in exchange for an eight-year sentence in New Jersey state prison. Under the state’s No Early Release Act, Beckett will be required to serve 85 percent of the term before becoming eligible for parole.
The Hon. Philip E. Haines, J.S.C., scheduled sentencing for September 20.
On August 12, 2018, officers from 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 discovered the body of James Walton Jr., 25, 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.
The investigation revealed that the heroin that killed Walton was purchased from Beckett.
Beckett was taken into custody in February at his residence by members of the Burlington County Sheriff’s Department Warrant Unit, the New Jersey State Police Fugitive Unit, the Prosecutor’s Office, the Mansfield Township Police Department and the Edgewater Park Township Police Department. He has been in the Burlington County Jail since his arrest.
The case is being 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.