An alleged drug dealer from Avon will be prosecuted under New Jersey's strict-liability law for allegedly supplying the heroin that killed a rehab patient in Rumson last year.

heroin (Spencer Platt/Getty Images)

Michael Renna, 25, faces one first-degree count of strict liability for drug induced death, and a third-degree charge of distribution of a controlled dangerous substance, according to information from the office of acting Monmouth County Prosecutor Chris Grammiccioni.

In a Monmouth County courtroom, Judge John R. Tassini set Renna's bail at $210,000 with no 10-percent option. Renna was placed in the Monmouth County Correctional Institution in Freehold.

A conviction on the first-degree charge would place Renna at risk of 20 years in a state prison, with a provision to serve a minimum of 17 years before parole eligibility under the state's No Early Release Act (NERA).

The distribution charge carries a penalty of up to five years in prison, on conviction.

Christopher L. Pesce, 25, was found dead in Oxford House on the night of October 13, 2013, by police who were dispatched to the South Ward Avenue rehab center at about 8:15 PM.

Results of a postmortem exam attributed his death to acute heroin toxicity. Rumson police and Monmouth County investigators linked the drug to a transaction between Renna and Pesce in Asbury Park on October 12.

Rumson PD Detective Christopher Isherwood and Monmouth County Detective Kevin Condon are still handling the case and encourage anyone with knowledge of the incident to reach them. Isherwood can be contacted at 732-842-0500 and Condon can be phone at 800-533-7443.

Anonymous tips can be given at the Monmouth County Crimestoppers line, 800-671-4400. Callers to this line whose information leads to the arrest and prosecution of a suspect or fugitive are eligible for rewards.


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