District Attorney Hoovler Announces Guilty Pleas in Fatal Overdose Case
Defendant Pled Guilty to Criminally Negligent Homicide and
Criminal Sale of a Controlled Substance in the Third Degree
for Selling Heroin and Fentanyl to Fatal Overdose Victim
Orange County District Attorney David M. Hoovler announced that on Thursday, November 14, 2019, Ashley Parker, 27, of Deerpark, pleaded guilty before Orange County Court Judge William L. DeProspo, to Criminally Negligent Homicide and Criminal Sale of a Controlled Substance in the Third Degree, in connection with having sold heroin and fentanyl to a Port Jervis woman who subsequently died of an overdose from ingesting those narcotics in late May, 2019.
On May 31, 2019, the City of Port Jervis Police Department responded to a residence on West Main Street, in Port Jervis, where they found the deceased woman, as well as glassine envelopes contained heroin and fentanyl which were stamped “Untouchable”. An autopsy revealed that the woman had died as a result of having ingested the narcotics. A joint investigation was conducted by the Port Jervis City 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. At the time that she pleaded guilty, Parker admitted selling those drugs to now deceased woman on either May 30, 2019 or May 31, 2019, at Parker’s Town of Deerpark residence, and admitted that those narcotics caused the death of the woman who had purchased them.
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 January 22, 2020. Parker is currently in the Orange County Jail in lieu of bail which had been set in the amount of $100,000 cash or $250,000 bond. After the new Criminal Justice Reform legislation becomes effective on January 1, 2020, 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.
The Orange County District Attorney’s Office follows the same protocols when assisting its law enforcement partners who are investigating fatal overdoses as they do 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 which have resulted in death. In those 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.
District Attorney Hoovler thanked the Port Jervis City Police Department, the Orange County Medical Examiner’s Office, the New York State Police, the Town of Deerpark Town Police Department and the Mid-Hudson FBI Safe Streets Task Force, for their investigation of the overdose death which resulted in the charges.
District Attorney Hoovler highly commended Assistant District Attorney Janine Kovacs for her assistance in the investigation and for handling the prosecution of Parker.
“The Orange County District Attorney’s Office is committed to holding those who sell drugs that kill accountable for their actions,” said District Attorney Hoovler. “The lethal nature of heroin, and the fentanyl that is frequently sold with it, has been well documented and well publicized. My deepest condolences go out to the family and loved ones of the deceased in this case. 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.”
A criminal charge is merely an allegation by the police that a defendant has committed a violation of the criminal law, and it is not evidence of guilt. All defendants are presumed innocent and entitled to a fair trial, during which it will be the State of New York’s burden to prove guilt beyond a reasonable doubt.