Ashley Parker, 27, of Deerpark, N.Y., pleaded guilty to criminally negligent homicide and criminal sale of a controlled substance.
She admitted to selling heroin and fentanyl to a Port Jervis, N.Y., woman who subsequently died of an overdose from ingesting those narcotics in May.
Orange County District Attorney David Hoovler made the announcement on Nov. 14. Parker delivered her plea to Orange County Court Judge William DeProspo.
“The Orange County District Attorney’s Office is committed to holding those who sell drugs that kill accountable for their actions,” said Hoovler. “The lethal nature of heroin, and the fentanyl that is frequently sold with it, has been well documented and well publicized."
On May 31, the Port Jervis Police Department responded to a residence on West Main Street, where they found the deceased woman as well as glassine envelopes, stamped “Untouchable," that contained heroin and fentanyl. An autopsy revealed that the woman died as a result of having ingested the narcotics.
A joint investigation was conducted by the Port Jervis Police Department, the Orange County District Attorney’s Office, the Orange County Medical Examiner’s Office, the New York State Police, the Town of Deerpark Police, and the Mid-Hudson FBI Safe Streets Task Force.
Parker faces nine years in prison on the charge of Criminal Sale of Controlled Substance in the Third Degree, and one and one-third to four years in prison on the charge of Criminally Negligent Homicide when she is sentenced on Jan. 22. She is currently in Orange County Jail in lieu of bail, which had been set in the amount of $100,000 cash or $250,000 bond.
After New York's new Criminal Justice Reform legislation becomes effective on Jan. 1, the District Attorney’s Office will no longer be able to request that bail be set for those accused of either Criminal Sale of a Controlled Substance or Criminally Negligent Homicide.
Fatal overdoses investigated as homicides
The Orange County District Attorney’s Office follows the same protocols when assisting its law enforcement partners investigating fatal overdoses as it does in homicide cases. This includes drafting search warrants and other documents to ensure that the locations where the narcotics were sold and ingested, as well as locations where people succumbed to overdoses, can be processed as crime scenes and that all available potential evidence is preserved.
New York State law often precludes the filing of homicide charges against those who sold the narcotics that have resulted in death. In cases where homicide charges can be filed, the charge is frequently the class E felony of Criminally Negligent Homicide, which is a lower class of felony than the class B felony of Criminal Sale of a Controlled Substance in the Third Degree.
"My deepest condolences go out to the family and loved ones of the deceased in this case," said Hoovler. "I urge all who suffer from substance abuse disorders to seek help before there are additional tragic consequences. My office will continue to work with our law enforcement partners to give cases involving fatal overdoses the attention they deserve.”
"I urge all who suffer from substance abuse disorders to seek help before there are additional tragic consequences." --David Hoovler, Orange County District Attorney