Lincoln Park NJ Man Pleads Guilty to Strict Liability in Drug-Induced DeathThis week, a Lincoln Park, New Jersey man entered a guilty plea in the drug-induced death of his friend.

28-year-old Matthew Weisholz entered the plea in Morris County Superior Court, admitting to having supplied heroin to 29-year-old Erin Elizabeth Idone, who overdosed and died at her home in Montville, New Jersey. Mr. Weisholz and Ms. Idone were friends who had been romantically involved in the past.

Shortly after Ms. Idone’s death, Mr. Weisholz was charged with heroin possession. However, Morris County prosecutors later invoked a rarely used NJ statute after Mr. Weisholz was accused of supplying the heroin to Ms. Idone.

As set forth by the statute, which was passed in 1986, there is strict liability for a person who causes a drug-induced death. Although the statute was challenged, it has been upheld by the New Jersey Supreme Court. Nonetheless, the statute is rarely used by prosecutors because it can be difficult to establish a connection between drug dealers and users of a drug that results in death.

In court, Mr. Weisholz admitted to meeting Ms. Idone outside her home on March 5 and giving heroin to her. According to Mr. Weisholz, Ms. Idone later injected the heroin into herself while sitting in his car.

Shortly after the injection, Ms. Idone fell down in the street outside her home and hit her head on the pavement. Although Ms. Idone was able to make it inside her home, her parents found her dead in her bed the next day.

When questioned by the Superior Court judge, Mr. Weisholz stated that but for Ms. Idone’s ingestion of the heroin, she would not have died.

The Morris County Assistant Prosecutor has recommended that Mr. Weisholz be sentenced to five (5) years in New Jersey State Prison and that he be required to serve a minimum of 85% of his sentence before gaining parole eligibility. If Mr. Weisholz had not entered into a plea agreement, he could have been sentenced to a term of imprisonment of 20 years in state prison.

After entering his plea, Mr. Weisholz surrendered himself to Morris County authorities. Mr. Weisholz will be lodged at the Morris County Jail while awaiting sentencing, which is scheduled for September 27 in Morris County Superior Court.


To learn more about this case, read the article entitled “Man Pleads Guilty to Supplying Heroin to Friend Who Died.