Every year, prosecutors make an even greater effort to hold responsible those who sell lethal substances that can lead to fatal overdoses. In cases in which a person has been arrested on drug trafficking charges, states are attempting to file additional criminal charges if one of the accused's former customers died as a result of the drugs he or she purchased. One Ohio woman is now facing a manslaughter charge in the aftermath of another woman's death.
The 26-year-old woman was arrested in July on charges of drug trafficking and possession of narcotics. She was recently charged with manslaughter after the state compiled the evidence the prosecutor claims supports the new charge. The accused woman allegedly sold less than a gram of heroin of to a 29-year-old woman who was discovered deceased in her residence the day after the alleged transaction.
The police initially filed the involuntary manslaughter charge in August. However, the original charge was dismissed in October after a request was made by the prosecution. The state now claims that the coroner's report determined that the illegal drug was the chief cause of the woman's death.
The accused woman does have a record of previous Ohio drug arrests and she entered a plea of guilty to an earlier possession charge. The criminal charges she currently faces could lead to several years in prison if the state ultimately gains a conviction against her. The woman is entitled to face her accusers in court and to challenge the evidence the state claims to have obtained. The prosecution has admitted that these types of charges are difficult to prove as the source of the drugs is not easily discernible and previous convictions against others on similar charges were obtained after the accused offered a guilty plea in exchange for a lesser charge. The decision as to the best defense for the current circumstances rests with the woman and the guidance of her defense counsel.
Source: marionstar.com, "Repeat drug dealer indicted for manslaughter", John Jarvis, Dec. 22, 2014