FREEHOLD – A Monmouth County Grand Jury has returned a 37-count indictment against a man charged with being responsible for a fatal overdose that took place in 2021, Monmouth County Prosecutor Raymond S. Santiago and Belmar Police Department Chief Tina Scott announced in a joint statement on Friday.
Robert M. Clayton, 39, was indicted on one count of second-degree Manslaughter, along with two counts of second-degree Possession of a Controlled Dangerous Substance with the Intent to Distribute, twelve counts of second-degree Possession of a Controlled Dangerous Substance with the Intent to Distribute while on or within 500 feet of a Public Park, twelve counts of third-degree Possession of Controlled Dangerous Substance, and ten counts of third-degree Possession of a Controlled Substance with Intent to Distribute.
On January 2, 2021 at 1:21 p.m., Belmar Police Department officers were dispatched to the area of Third and River Avenues for a caller reporting an overdose in progress in the front seat of his car. The car was located on Fifth Avenue with the passenger-side door ajar and a male subject crawling out of the vehicle face-first. Upon contact with the Belmar Police officers, the individual crawling out of the car yelled, “Narcan him!”
One of the responding Belmar officers immediately retrieved his first-aid equipment and administered two doses of Narcan to an adult male, later identified as Jonathan Amato, who was seated in the front passenger seat in a reclined position, unconscious and not breathing. Amato was transported to Jersey Shore University Medical Center, where he was pronounced deceased upon arrival at the hospital.
An investigation involving members of the Belmar Police Department and the Monmouth County Prosecutor’s Office revealed that Amato overdosed and died as a result of controlled dangerous substances that he ingested at the residence of Robert Clayton.
A subsequent search of Clayton’s home by the Belmar Police Department recovered the following narcotics: 919 Xanax pills, 101 Carisoprodel pills, 26 wax folds of heroin, 2 bags of powder heroin, 3 bags of MDMA (“Ecstasy”), 97 doses of LSD, 1 bag of Crystal Meth, 2 bags of Ketamine, 111 Methadone pills, 51 Adderall pills, 62 Tramadol pills, 2 vials of liquid Xanax, 11 Oxycodone pills and numerous other small amounts of pills, in addition to used hypodermic needles, vacuum-sealed packaging bags, hundreds of unused wax folds, 4 scales with CDS residue, 2 whipped-cream-dispensers, and 200 whippet canisters. In addition, 34 thumb memory drives were recovered, along with a computer and seven cellular phones.
This case is being prosecuted by Monmouth County Prosecutor’s Office Director of Investigations/Assistant Prosecutor Hoda Soliman.
Robert Clayton is being represented by Adam Mitchell, Esq. of Freehold Township.
A conviction for Manslaughter carries a period of up to 10 years in New Jersey State Prison, subject to the provisions of the No Early Release Act (N.E.R.A.), meaning that he would have to serve 85% of the sentence before becoming eligible for parole. The additional second-degree charges also carry up to 10 years in prison; the third-degree charges carry up to 5 years in prison.
Despite these charges, every defendant is presumed innocent, unless and until found guilty beyond a reasonable doubt, following a trial at which the defendant has all of the trial rights guaranteed by the U.S. Constitution and State law.