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Cape quickly wraps up drug-death case with five-year offer to Mays Landing man

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A Mays Landing man is facing five years in prison after pleading guilty in a drug-induced death just days after his arrest.

Brian Creamer was found unresponsive in an Upper Township McDonald’s parking lot Oct. 16, and was later pronounced dead.

An investigation — including two controlled drug purchases — led to the arrest of Wayne Mumford on Oct. 20.

The first-degree case took about a week to go from the crime’s commission to a plea agreement that could wrap up three of Mumford’s pending cases across two counties.

The crime usually carries a potential term of 10 to 20 years in prison. Under the agreement, Mumford would be sentenced to five years, the lowest term of a second-degree crime.

“If I had my way, Mr. Mumford would be going away for 15 to 20 years, and he would stay in the whole time,” Assistant Prosecutor Edward Shim told the judge. “That is not what was offered to the state.”

The offer to the state — which seemed to be accepted without a counteroffer — included releasing the now-admitted drug dealer pending sentencing, with a request that he would not be brought back until February.

“He has a wife and family that he wants to see for a while before he goes away to do his time,” defense attorney Elton Anglada explained to the judge.

Smith, however, disagreed with that stipulation, pointing out that the state originally submitted paperwork for the planned detention hearing to have Mumford held, calling him a danger. Now the prosecution was asking that he be set free for four months.

“I’ll be honest with you, when I have a motion in front of me to detain him pretrial based on your certification and based on your representation that he’s still a danger, I’m very hard pressed to agree to release him today,” Judge Christine Smith told the prosecutor in the case.

Shim said he understood her concerns, along with that of Creamer’s family, saying he also had concerns.

“Sometimes you have to be willing to give something to get something,” he said of the plea agreement’s terms. “That’s a risk I’m willing to take. That’s a risk I’m going to ask your honor to take along with the state with the hopes of resolving this matter.

“I’m putting some faith in Mr. Mumford,” he added.

But the judge did not.

Instead, after looking into the issue and taking a break from the bench, Smith decided against releasing Mumford.

The plea agreement still went through, only with Mumford staying jailed and a sentencing date of Jan. 8.

"While I don’t pretend, nor does my client doesn‘t pretend to say that his pain is as great as the decedent’s family, he is also pained by this," Anglada said. "The decedent was a friend of his. He’s not proud of what happened here. He’s devastated by this. He feels not just legally responsible but morally and emotionally to blame for this."

Mumford had a drug history, including a failed term in Recovery Court and at least one case out of Cumberland County and a pending Atlantic County case stemming from the death investigation.

Shim said he believed Atlantic County would allow him to take over their drug case against Mumford. If not, he said they would have the sentences run concurrent.

The Atlantic County Prosecutor’s Office is still waiting for State Police lab reports before indicting the case, a representative of that office told BreakingAC. The Cape May County Prosecutor’s Office had not yet contacted Atlantic County about taking that case.

author

Lynda Cohen

Lynda Cohen founded BreakingAC after working as a local newspaper reporter for more than two decades. She is an NJPA award-winner and was a Stories of Atlantic City fellow.

Tuesday, June 18, 2024
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