TOMS RIVER-Ocean County Prosecutor Bradley D. Billhimer and Chief Lisa Parker of the Manchester Police Department announced that on October 21, 2019, John T. Mullen Jr., age 50, of Seaside Heights, New Jersey, was arrested and charged with First Degree Murder in the death of Thomas J. Applegate, age 33, of Manchester Township. Mullen was also charged with First Degree Robbery, as well as Third Degree Possession of Heroin and Fourth Degree Tampering with Physical Evidence.
Applegate is a graduate of Jackson Memorial High School.
On October 20, 2019, Manchester Police responded to the Surf and Stream Campground after receiving multiple 911 calls about a body lying in the entrance driveway to the campground. Upon arrival, Manchester patrol units found the body of Thomas J. Applegate lying in the driveway of the Surf and Stream Campground with a wound in his chest. The victim was pronounced at the scene by Dr. Gildan of Newark Beth Israel Hospital at approximately 6:00 p.m. The Ocean County Prosecutor’s Office Major Crime Unit, Ocean County Prosecutor’s Office High Tech Crime Unit, Manchester Police Department and Ocean County Sheriff’s Office began a joint investigation. Based on this investigation, John T. Mullen, Jr., was charged with the murder and robbery of Thomas Applegate.
“Through our investigation, we have determined that this started out as a drug deal. Mullen planned on stealing Xanax from the victim. This robbery, however, turned into a murder,” Prosecutor Billhimer stated. “All of the involved agencies — OCPO’s Major Crime Unit and High Tech Crime Unit, Manchester Police and the Ocean County Sheriff’s Office — did a great job resolving this investigation expeditiously,” Prosecutor Billhimer added.
The investigation is being led by Detective Brant Uricks of the Ocean County Prosecutor’s Office Major Crime Unit, Detective Danny Barker of the Manchester Township Police Department, and Detective John Strodel of the Ocean County Sheriff’s Department Crime Scene Investigation Unit.