WOODBURY — Joshua L. Rodriguez 25, of Camden was found guilty on Feb. 22 of first-degree strict liability for a drug-induced death of a 42-year-old Daniel Chakov of Logan Township who died of a heroin overdose on Oct. 13, 2014.
A Gloucester County jury deliberated about four hours before reaching its verdict. Superior Court Judge Robert P. Becker revoked bail for Rodriguez at the request of Senior Assistant Gloucester County Prosecutor Stacie Scheetz.
Among the witnesses presented by Sr. AP Scheetz was the father of Daniel Chakov. The son lived in his parents’ Woolwich Township home at the time. A Swedesboro man also identified Rodriguez as the seller of heroin to Chakov.
“We hope prosecutions such as this send a strong message that anyone involved in the illegal and lethal sale of heroin will be held responsible,” said Gloucester County Prosecutor Sean F. Dalton. “While we will continue our efforts to prevent opiate abuse through education, and offer life-saving initiatives such as supplying police with the overdose antidote Narcan as well as connecting addicts with recovery coaches, we will continue to employ all legal avenues in combating this national problem.”
In her closing argument to the jury, Sr. AP Scheetz said the communications between Chakov and Rodriguez and the consistent witness identification of the defendant ascertained his guilt.
Rodriquez sentencing is scheduled for April 21. The sentencing range for this first-degree crime is 10 to 20 years in state prison. The first-degree strict liability statute, creating an additional form of homicide, has been part of New Jersey’s criminal code since 1986.