Weisberg & Weisberg, PLLC
Peninsula:
757-528-2643

Southside:
757-777-9214
Free 15 minute phone consultation

Plea deal reduces Virginia man's homicide charge to manslaughter

Can a drug dealer be held accountable for the death of a customer? Both engage in an illegal activity by selling and buying street drugs and know use of the drugs can be high risk. Evidence clarifies whether a dealer's role warrants criminal charges and how severe those charges are.

A Virginia man faced a felony homicide charge over the death of a Williamsburg heroin addict in April 2013. The unresponsive drug user was found by his brother on the floor of a motel room. Motel 6 employees gave the sibling access to the room when they learned the brother had not answered the door despite repeated knocks.

Crime investigators discovered paraphernalia that suggested the victim used heroin before his death. A lab test detected a deadly mix of drugs in the man's system characteristic of heroin. Police reviewed footage from the motel security camera, interviewed witnesses and examined phone records.

The investigation led to a 39-year-old James City man. The surviving brother, wearing a recording device, met with the man suspected of selling heroin to the overdose victim. The alleged dealer was arrested and charged after admitting to the brother he shared heroin with the user -- the same batch of heroin that killed the addict but allowed the dealer to survive.

A plea agreement was struck. Homicide was reduced to involuntary manslaughter; another charge for heroin distribution was dismissed. The accused man was convicted earlier this month after entering an Alford plea -- recognition the state's evidence was likely to lead to conviction and acceptance of penalties, without an admission of guilt.

As part of the same deal, prosecutors reduced prison time to a maximum of 18 months. The defendant avoided a possible 10-year prison sentence, the highest term for involuntary manslaughter. A criminal defense attorney's dogged review of evidence and powerful negotiation skills can have a tremendous, positive impact on a legal outcome.

Source: The Virginia Gazette, "Homicide becomes manslaughter in plea deal over Williamsburg fatal overdose" Susan Robertson, Jun. 09, 2014

No Comments

Leave a comment
Comment Information
Email Us For A Response

Let's Do This Together

Bold labels are required.

Contact Information
disclaimer.

The use of the Internet or this form for communication with the firm or any individual member of the firm does not establish an attorney-client relationship. Confidential or time-sensitive information should not be sent through this form.

close

Privacy Policy

Peninsula Office
744 Thimble Shoals Blvd. Suite B
Newport News, VA 23606

Phone: 757-528-2643
Fax: 757-310-6926
Newport News Law Office Map

Southside Office
112 College Place
Norfolk, VA 23510

Phone: 757-777-9214
Fax: 757-533-9223
Norfolk Law Office Map