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RUMSON: MAN INDICTED IN OVERDOSE DEATH

oxford-rumson-2-011214-jpg-500x375-9390924Rumson officials said they learned that Oxford House had created the recovery home at 61 South Ward Avenue only after a resident’s death there. (Photo by John T. Ward. Click to enlarge)

By JOHN T. WARD

hot-topic_03-220x138-2130637An Avon-by-the-Sea man has been indicted for the overdose death of a resident of Rumson’s Oxford House addiction recovery facility, Acting Monmouth County Prosecutor Christopher Gramiccioni announced Monday.

Michael Renna, 26 of Sylvania Avenue,  faces two counts arising from the October 2013 death of 25-year-old Christopher L. Pesce, according to Gramiccioni.

Renna was charged with one count of first-degree strict liability for drug-induced death and one count of third-degree distribution of a controlled dangerous substance. He faces up to 25 years in prison.

The charges are the same on which Renna was arrested a year ago. He has been free on $200,000 bail posted three days afterward, Gramiccioni  said.

In the prepared statement, Gramiccioni said Rumson police were dispatched to the house at 61 South Ward Avenue at about 8:15 p.m., on October 13, 2013, and found the victim dead in the house An autopsy determined that Pesce had died from acute heroin toxicity, he said.

An investigation by Rumson police, in conjunction with the prosecutor’s office, determined that the victim had obtained the fatal doses of heroin from Renna, an acquaintance, in Asbury Park on the night before his death, Gramiccioni said.

Rumson officials and neighbors said they leaned after Pesce’s death that Oxford House, a nationwide nonprofit, had quietly established a residence for recovering drug addicts at the house two months earlier.

Two months after Pesece’s death, a second resident overdosed and required emergency treatment.

The borough and Oxford House filed lawsuits against one another, with the town seeking a state court order to have the facility vacated, and Oxford House alleging, in a federal court filing, harassment by the borough.

Both matters were settled and Oxford House remained at the location, officials have said.

 

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