FREEHOLD – Two men have been arrested and charged with supplying a Howell woman with the drugs that killed her, Acting Monmouth County Prosecutor Lori Linskey announced Thursday.

Terrance R. Rose, 38, of Freehold Borough and Reginald A. Simeus, 42, of Howell are both charged with first-degree Strict Liability for a Drug-Induced Death.

On Tuesday, November 17, 2020, members of the Howell Township Police Department responded to a residence on a report of a possible drug overdose. Upon arrival, they found 35-year-old Katherine Hughes, who was pronounced dead at the scene.

A joint investigation by members of the Prosecutor’s Office and the Howell Township Police Department ensued, through which Rose and Simeus were discovered to have been communicating with Hughes during the period leading up to her death. The investigation further determined that Simeus had obtained the drugs from Rose before passing them along to Hughes prior to her death.    

In the early stages of the investigation, Rose and Simeus were charged with multiple drug-related charges out of South Amboy (Middlesex County) and Howell, respectively; those charges remain pending. The Strict Liability charge was filed last week, with Simeus being arrested without incident at his home on Friday, September 17 and Rose turning himself in to members of the Howell Township Police Department on Monday, September 20.

Simeus was later released on his own recognizance, while Rose was transported to the Monmouth County Correctional Institution in Freehold, where he awaits a detention hearing before Monmouth County Superior Court Judge Paul X. Escandon, scheduled for tomorrow, Friday, September 24.

Acting Prosecutor Linskey praised the proactive, dedicated efforts of the Howell Township Police Department, members of whom worked in conjunction with detectives from the Prosecutor’s Office’s Narcotics and Criminal Enterprises Unit and Major Crimes Bureau. 

“During recent years, there has been a sea change in how law enforcement has approached substance abuse, shifting from a strategy built more on enforcement to one built more on compassion. But that compassion is reserved only for those fighting to turn their lives around – not for those who would literally trade those individuals’ lives for a modest financial gain,” Acting Prosecutor Linskey said. “We hope the charges being announced today send a clear message to that latter group, putting them on notice that such conduct will be met with the sharpest prosecutorial rebuke permissible under the law.” 

This case is assigned to Assistant Prosecutor Christopher J. Decker, Director of the Prosecutor’s Office’s Major Crimes Bureau.

Rose is being represented by Michael J. Pappa, Esq., of Hazlet, while no attorney is known to have yet entered an appearance on Simeus’s behalf.

Convictions on first-degree criminal charges are commonly punishable by terms of up to 20 years in state prison.

Despite the aforementioned pending 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.