News

Guilty Verdict in Drug Induced Death Case

October 15, 2019

Cape May Court House, New Jersey – Cape May County Prosecutor Jeffrey H. Sutherland announces a guilty verdict in the trial of Christopher R. Small and Christopher M. Verity regarding the drug induced death of Kevin MacFarlane.

The jury verdict was received on Friday October 11, 2019 after a three week long trial in front of the Honorable Christopher Gibson in the Cape May County Superior Court.

On October 3, 2018, the body of Kevin MacFarlane was discovered and a homicide investigation was conducted by Detectives from the New Jersey State Police and the Cape May County Prosecutor’s Office.  The investigation revealed MacFarlane, a resident of Avalon, died as a result of a drug overdose which then lead to the arrest of Small and Verity.

On October 11, 2019, Christopher R. Small, a 41 year old resident of Marmora, New Jersey, and Christopher M. Verity, a 37 year old resident of Dennisville, New Jersey, were found guilty of Strict Liability for Drug-Induced Death, a crime of the first degree and Conspiracy to commit Distribution of a Controlled Dangerous Substance a crime of the third degree.

Small was additionally found guilty of Distribution of a Controlled Dangerous Substance, a crime of the third degree and Verity was additionally found guilty of two counts of Endangering an Injured Victim, a crime of the third degree.

Both Small and Verity could be sentenced to 10 to 20 years in New Jersey State Prison for the first degree Drug-Induced Death charges along with consecutive 5 year terms for the third degree Distribution, Conspiracy, and Endangering charges.  Small and Verity are both extended term eligible and at the time of sentencing the Judge could also sentence them to life in prison.

Prosecutor Sutherland would like to thank the New Jersey State Police, the Cape May County Prosecutor’s Office Detectives and Assistant Prosecutor Edward Shim, who successfully prosecuted this case.  Prosecutor Sutherland said his office will continue to aggressively investigate and prosecute all individuals involved in selling dangerous drugs which result in overdose deaths in Cape May County.

Prosecutor Sutherland announces the Cape May County Prosecutor’s Office has received the Operation Helping Hand Grant from the State of New Jersey

September 3, 2019

Cape May Court House, New Jersey – Cape May County Prosecutor Jeffrey H. Sutherland announces the Cape May County Prosecutor’s Office has received the Operation Helping Hand Grant from the State of New Jersey.

According to Prosecutor Sutherland, on August 13, 2019, Cape May County Board of Chosen Freeholders adopted Resolution 587-19 accepting a Grant Award from the New Jersey Department of Law and Public Safety and the Office of the New Jersey Coordinator for Addiction Responses and Enforcement Strategies (“NJ CARES”). The grant was created to address the opioid crisis affecting residents of New Jersey. Attorney General Grewal initiated the Grant last year as part of his “Operation Helping Hand” program to combat opioid addiction. Continue reading

Unsubstantiated Threat

August 16, 2019

Cape May Court House, New Jersey – Cape May County Prosecutor Jeffrey H. Sutherland and Middle Township Police Chief Christopher Leusner announce an unsubstantiated threat involving Wal-mart stores that has been circulating on Facebook accounts across the Country. This threat is baseless and there is no reason for public alarm.

According to Prosecutor Sutherland, a resident of Middle Township received a message on Facebook from an unknown individual which mentioned a possible shooting may occur at Wal-mart over the weekend. There were no additional details in this message nor did the message mention a specific Wal-mart store or area.

Detectives from the Middle Township Police Department and the Cape May County Prosecutor’s Office immediately initiated an investigation which revealed the same message had been sent to Facebook accounts in Texas and Washington State.

Prosecutor Sutherland wanted to reiterate there is no known threat to the Wal-mart Store in Rio Grande and that the message circulating on Facebook and has no factual basis and there is no reason for alarm.

Prosecutor Sutherland continues to urge the citizens of Cape May County to report any suspicious activity to your local police department. Information can also be reported anonymously through the Cape May County Sheriffs Tip Line at cmcsheriff.net and click on anonymous tip, or through the Cape May County Crime Stoppers at 609-465-2800, or the Cape May County Prosecutor’s Office at 609-465-1135.

No Charges Will Be Filed As A Result Of A Fatal Motor Vehicle Accident

August 12, 2019

Cape May Court House, New Jersey – Cape May County Prosecutor Jeffrey H. Sutherland announces no criminal charges will be filed as a result of a fatal motor vehicle accident that occurred in Ocean City, NJ on Memorial Day weekend.

On My 24, 2019, at approximately 5:34 PM, Ocean City Police responded to a motor vehicle verse pedestrian accident in the area of 8th and Bay Avenue. A white 2015 Jeep Cherokee struck two pedestrians in the crosswalk and one of the pedestrians, Thomas F. Gibbons, Jr. from Lansdale, PA later died in the hospital as a result of his injuries.

An investigation into the accident was conducted by members of the Ocean City Police Department and Cape May County Prosecutor’s Office with the assistance of the New Jersey State Police.

As a result of the investigation, no criminal charges will be filed against the driver, Barbara L. Myers, a 49 year old resident of Woodbine, NJ. Myers was issued two motor vehicle summonses for Failure to Yield to a Pedestrian and one summons for Careless Driving which will be handled in Municipal Court.

Reporting Biased Based Crimes

July 5, 2019

Cape May Court House, New Jersey – Cape May County Prosecutor Jeffrey H. Sutherland issues the following statement on the need and importance of reporting biased based crimes and incidents to law enforcement:
It has recently been reported that a local ice cream parlor in Cape May, namely, Fine Fellows Creamery, has been the victim of a series of bias incidents and/or bias crimes. For point of reference the bias incident I am referring to is the derogatory anti-gay slurs directed at the owners. The bias crime is the theft of the gay pride flags, assuming they were stolen as a means of intimidation against the store owners.

I did not write this to provide a legal lesson on what is a bias incident versus a bias crime – but to stress to the public the urgent need to report any activity you may witness or be a victim of that you believe may be a bias incident or a bias crime. The reason law enforcement needs to know about any such incident (whether or not it is a crime) is to first make sure that the victim’s needs are addressed and that the perpetrator is found and potentially charged.

The secondary reason, but no less important, is to provide law enforcement with an accurate picture of activities that even if they are not currently a crime – they could lead to crimes in the future; or be evidence of hate groups in our community or being organized in our community and planning or engaged in potential bias crimes.

If a bias crime can be prevented, by locating the perpetrator of a bias event and directing the person to the appropriate program or individuals to hopefully help understand and change their belief; or at a minimum, having them understand that their beliefs may lead them to engaging in criminal activity, the community as a whole is served.

The controlling New Jersey law NJS 2C:16-2 provides that a “person is guilty of a crime of bias intimidation if he commits, attempts to commit, conspires to commit, or threatens the immediate commission of …” certain criminal offenses (ie.- theft, assault, property damage, homicide, etc.) “with the purpose to intimidate an individual or group of individuals because of race, color, religion, gender, disability, sexual orientation, gender identity or expression, national origin, or ethnicity…”

If you are a victim of or witness a bias incident or bias crime in Cape May County you can report the incident to your local police by dialing 911, or contacting the Cape May County Prosecutor’s office (609) 465-1135, ex. 3331 or the New Jersey Department of Criminal Justice Bias Crime Tip line (800) 277-BIAS(2427).

The police agency receiving the reported incident will address any underlying crime that may have been committed and also complete a Supplementary Bias Incident Offense report (in addition to any criminal investigation report). Whether it is a bias crime or bias incident the Supplemental Bias Incident Offense report is provided to the County Prosecutor’s office and the New Jersey Division of Criminal Justice so evidence of such activities are documented, tracked and cross-referenced with any other potentially related activities that could lead to crimes or be evidence of a pattern of criminal activity.

It is likely that anyone reading this either is a member of one of the protected groups outlined above, or has a loved one or friend who is. However, even if that is not the case, reporting Bias Crimes and Bias Incidents protects all of us and makes our communities safer for everyone; residents and visitors alike. We have seen how hate and bias can lead to tragedies in places such as a predominantly black church in South Carolina, a synagogue in Pittsburgh, a night club in Florida and to peaceful protesters in Charlottesville, as well as other incidents. No one should live in fear simply for their beliefs or for being who they are.

Man Arrested for Manufacturing and Distributing Narcotics

June 25, 2019

Cape May Court House, New Jersey – Cape May County Prosecutor Jeffrey H. Sutherland and Chief of Detectives Paul Skill announce the conclusion of a Narcotics investigation into the distribution of Heroin in the City of Wildwood and throughout Cape May County by Gonzalo Soto.

Soto, a 40 year old resident of the City of Wildwood, was arrested on June 25, 2019 during the execution of a Court authorized search warrant at his residence located in the 200 East Block of Rio Grande Avenue in Wildwood. This search warrant was a result of an investigation targeting Soto selling heroin from his residence, along with other locations within Cape May County. Continue reading

Composite Sketch Released of Suspect in Sexual Assault Investigation

May 28, 2019

Cape May Court House, New Jersey – Cape May County Prosecutor Jeffrey H. Sutherland and Chief Matthew Gallagher of the North Wildwood Police Department announce the release of a composite sketch of the suspect in a sexual assault that occurred on May 21, 2019 in the 500 block of Anglesea Drive, North Wildwood.

The unknown suspect is described as a white male, approximately 5’10”, in his 50’s with short brown hair and clean shaven. The male was described as wearing a light gray crew sweatshirt, dark blue jeans, and black sneakers at the time of the incident.

Prosecutor Sutherland urges anyone who may have seen this individual in the area or may have information regarding this investigation to contact the Cape May County Prosecutor’s Office Special Victims Unit at 609-465-1135 or the North Wildwood Police Department Detective Division at 609-522-2411. Any information can also be reported anonymously through the Cape May County Sheriffs Tip Line at cmcsheriff.net and click on anonymous tip, or through the Cape May County Crime Stoppers at 609-465-2800.

The below composite sketch was completed by the New Jersey State Police Forensic Photography and Composite Artist Unit.

Ongoing Investigation

May 23, 2019

Cape May Court House, New Jersey – Cape May County Prosecutor Jeffrey H. Sutherland along with Chief Matthew Gallagher of the North Wildwood Police Department announce a joint investigation is being conducted of a reported Sexual Assault which occurred on May 21, 2019 in the area of the 500 block of Anglesea Drive, North Wildwood, New Jersey.

On May 21, 2019, at approximately 6:27 p.m., the North Wildwood Police Department received a report of a Sexual Assault. The victim reported while walking in the area of the 500 block of Anglesea Drive, an unknown male approached and sexually assaulted the victim. The unknown suspect is described as a white male, approximately 5’10”, in his 50’s with short brown hair and clean shaven. The male was described as wearing a light gray crew sweatshirt, dark blue jeans, and black sneakers.

Prosecutor Sutherland urges anyone who may have information regarding this investigation or if you reside in the vicinity of the incident location and have a video surveillance system to contact the Cape May County Prosecutor’s Office Special Victims Unit at 609-465-1135 or the North Wildwood Police Department Detective Division at 609-522-2411. Any information can also be reported anonymously through the Cape May County Sheriffs Tip Line at cmcsheriff.net and click on anonymous tip, or through the Cape May County Crime Stoppers at 609-465-2800.

Accreditation Assessment Team Invites Public Comment

May 8, 2019

Cape May Court House, NJ- A team of assessors from the New Jersey State Association of Chiefs of Police (NJSACOP) will arrive on Monday, May 20, 2019, to examine all aspects of the Cape May County Prosecutor’s Office policies and procedures, management, operations, and support services Prosecutor Jeffrey H. Sutherland announced today. Continue reading

Arrest Made in Narcotics Investigation

April 17, 2019

Cape May Court House, New Jersey – Cape May County Prosecutor Jeffrey H. Sutherland and Chief of Detectives Paul Skill announce the arrest of Gonzalo Gonzalez, a 27-year-old restaurant employee and resident of the Villas section of Lower Township, for heroin distribution and weapons charges.

This arrest was the conclusion of a multi-month investigation targeting the narcotics distribution activities of Gonzalez throughout Cape May County. This cooperative investigation was initiated by the Cape May County Prosecutor’s Office, Gangs, Guns and Narcotics Task Force, and was assisted by the Lower Township Police Detective Division and the Middle Township Police Street Crimes Unit. Continue reading