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West Virginia Man Gets 12 Years for Pittsburgh Overdose Death


A West Virginia man is facing more than a decade in prison for his role in the overdose death of a man to whom he sold the drug heroin. The case, which may be impacted by a recent Supreme Court decision, will see the man serve 12 years as part of a plea bargain with prosecutors.

The 29 year old defendant pleaded guilty last week to charges including aiding and abetting in the distribution of heroin. The man had been facing a stiffer 20 year sentence, but accepted a plea deal with prosecutors in which they dropped the more serious charges against him. The charges stem from an incident on March 11, 2011 in which the defendant and his co-defendant, both heroin addicts, traveled to Steubenville, Ohio in order to obtain the drugs – which they then sold to the 22 year old victim in exchange for jewelry. The victim, a Waynesburg, PA native, overdosed several drugs, including the heroin that the defendants sold him. He was flown to a Pittsburgh area hospital for treatment where he died.

The defendant's attorney says that the case against his client would have been difficult to prove because the victim was already under the influence of drugs when he obtained and injected the heroin. He says that the presence of even one additional drug would complicate prosecution's ability to establish the exact cause of death.

The outcome of a case which is being reviewed by the U.S. Supreme Court may have some bearing on the long term outcome of the sentence in this case. The court is currently reviewing a similar case in which an Iowa man was convicted of killing a drug user who also overdosed with multiple drugs in his system. In that case experts testified that it may be impossible to determine which drug actually killed the man.

Attorney Frank Walker of Frank Walker Law is a National Top 100 Criminal Defense Lawyer and Personal Injury Attorney with offices in Pittsburgh Pennsylvania and Morgantown West Virginia.

If you or someone you love are facing criminal charges or seriously injured in an accident, contact Attorney Frank Walker immediately at 412-315-7441, 24 hours a day, 7 days a week for aggressive and experienced Criminal Defense or Representation in a Civil Case.