Wednesday, September 27th, 2017

Morris Prosecutor: Essex County man sentenced to 8 years in State Prison for Strict Liability Drug-Induced DeathA 35-year old Hillside man, Blaine Holley, was sentenced Tuesday to eight years in New Jersey State Prison on charges related to the September, 2016 death of Eric Decter, 31, in Hanover in a case brought by the Morris County Prosecutor’s Office under the direction of Prosecutor Fredric M. Knapp.

Holley, who previously lived in Irvington, had pleaded guilty on July 17 to one count of Strict Liablity for a Drug-Induced Death, a crime of the first degree,

Under the sentenced imposed by Judge Thomas J. Critchley in state Superior Court, Morristown, Holley will serve 85 percent of his sentence before being eligible for parole.  He will also be subject to a five-year period of parole supervision upon his release from prison.

During the sentencing hearing, the state was represented by Chief Assistant Prosecutor Matthew Troiano.  Also in attendance was the victim’s mother.  Victim-impact statements from the victim’s mother and father were read to the Court. In pronouncing sentence, the judge noted the overwhelming grief that comes with losing a child.

The charge resulted from a death investigation that began on the evening of September 19, 2016 in Hanover.  On that date, law enforcement responded to the America’s Best Value Inn on a report of an unconscious male suffering from an apparent narcotics overdose.  The male, who was pronounced dead at the scene, was later identified as Decter.

Through a subsequent investigation, it was discovered that Holley distributed various narcotics to Decter on multiple occasions, including on September 19, which caused his death.

On June 1, 2017, Holley was charged by way of Warrant-Complaint with the first-degree crime of Strict Liability for Drug-Induced Death, and the third degree crime of Conspiracy to Distribute Controlled Dangerous Substances (Heroin and Cocaine).

Prosecutor Knapp stated: “Strict liability prosecutions, such as this one, hopefully will deter distribution of deadly narcotics in our county.  The prosecution of such cases is intended to help turn the tide in our current opioid/heroin epidemic.”

Members of the Hanover Township Police Department, the Morris County Prosecutor’s Office Major Crimes Unit and Special Enforcement Unit, the Morris County Sheriff’s Office – Criminal Investigation Section, and the Morris County Medical Examiner’s Office contributed to this investigation and prosecution.

Any inquiries related to this release can be directed to Public Information Officer Fred Snowflack at 973-829-8159 or [email protected].