Prosecutor: 31-Year-Old Gets Six Years for Overdose Death Liability

A Long Branch man has been sentenced to six years in prison after pleading guilty to the first-degree crime of strict liability for drug induced death, or distribution of the drugs that caused a fatal overdose, in connection with a February overdose death, Monmouth County Prosecutor Christopher J. Gramiccioni said on Friday.

Lateef Reevey, 31, was sentenced on Feb. 17 by Monmouth County Superior Court Judge Lourdes Lucas, subject to the No Early Release Act (NERA). Pursuant to NERA, Reevey will be required to serve 85 percent of his sentence before becoming eligible for parole.

Reevey pleaded guilty on Dec. 14, 2020 in connection with the fatal overdose death of 25-year-old Lucy Yardley, of Flanders, who died on Feb. 21, 2020. 

Under New Jersey law, a person who distributes a controlled dangerous substance (CDS) is strictly liable for a death which results from the injection, inhalation or ingestion of that substance.        

Reevey also must serve a five-year prison term for an unrelated charge of conspiracy to possess a controlled dangerous substance, which will run concurrent to the strict liability charge. 

The case background …

On Feb. 21, 2020, at 6:07 p.m., the Tinton Falls Police Department received a report of a possible overdose victim in a local motel room.  The responding officers located the victim, Lucy Yardley, lying on the bathroom floor of Room 314. 

Yardley was unconscious and not breathing. Despite the lifesaving efforts of the Tinton Falls Police Department, the Tinton Falls First Aid Squad, and the MONOC Paramedics, Yardley was pronounced dead. 

An investigation was launched by the Tinton Falls Police Department and the Monmouth County Prosecutor’s Office into the victim’s death and the origins of the heroin she ingested.

The investigation ultimately identified Reevey as having communicated with the victim the day prior. 

On Feb. 22, 2020, police found Reevey in the parking lot of the same local motel. Reevey was found to be in possession of a quantity of heroin and cocaine, packaged for sale, as well as two cellular telephones. 

Upon approach by police, Reevey broke one of the two phones, which he had used to communicate with the victim two days earlier. 

He was arrested and charged with two counts of third-degree possession of CDS, two counts of third-degree possession of CDS with intent to distribute, one count of third-degree conspiracy to distribute, one count of fourth-degree tampering with physical evidence and the disorderly persons offense of possession of drug paraphernalia. 

— Edited press release from the Monmouth County Prosecutor’s Office

John Caroli
BCS Wealth Management