Crime

Bellefonte woman receives sentence for selling drugs in overdose death

Why it’s so hard to break an opioid addiction

More than a half-million people died from opioids between 2000 and 2015. Today, opioid deaths are considered an epidemic. To understand the struggle of a drug addiction, we take a closer look at what happens to the body.
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More than a half-million people died from opioids between 2000 and 2015. Today, opioid deaths are considered an epidemic. To understand the struggle of a drug addiction, we take a closer look at what happens to the body.

A Bellefonte woman was sentenced Tuesday to 5-10 years in state prison after she pleaded guilty in July to supplying the heroin that killed a man in Centre County.

Jessie Richmond, 27, admitted she sold heroin to the man in January 2018, but denied it was laced with fentanyl, according to an affidavit of probable cause filed by state police at Rockview in March 2018.

She spoke with state police trooper Michael Brown two days after the man’s death and said she was aware of people blaming her for his death, according to the affidavit.

As the conversation continued, Brown questioned her veracity and she became visibly upset, according to the affidavit, and asked, “How do people get in trouble for helping somebody get stuff?”

She was charged in March 2018 with one felony count of drug delivery resulting in death, two felony counts of possession with intent to deliver, two felony count of criminal use of a communication facility and two misdemeanor counts of unlawful possession of a controlled substance.

She pleaded guilty to drug delivery resulting in death, while the remaining six charges were either dropped or dismissed.

The man’s family attended Tuesday’s sentencing hearing and, while they cannot yet forgive Richmond, they hope she shares her story in prison so others will learn from her experience, Deputy District Attorney Sean McGraw said in a statement.

“Losing a loved one so suddenly is a tragedy that shocks the heart and mind,” McGraw said. “We trust that the sentence imposed is a step on the long road of healing for the victim’s family, and for the commonwealth it is an important step in the complex process of reversing the proliferation of such dangerous drugs in our communities.”

Defense attorney Justin Miller declined to comment.

Bret Pallotto primarily reports on courts and crime for the Centre Daily Times. He grew up in Lewistown and graduated from Lock Haven University.
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