Jamie Maynard, age 27, pleaded guilty to one count of involuntary manslaughter and one count of trafficking in heroin during a hearing at the Franklin County Common Pleas Court House Friday.

According to investigators, she sold heroin to Courtney Penix, age 24, at the West Point Plaza Shopping Center Walmart in west Columbus on April 27, 2015.

Penix’s body was discovered in a Meijer restroom a short time later.

Penix died from a heroin overdose.

Maynard’s indictment is one of the first in a series of these types of indictments since a special task force was created to combat the heroin epidemic.

The H.O.P.E. Task Force was created in 2016 and involves several agencies including the Franklin County Sheriff’s Office and the Franklin County Prosecutor’s Office.

Chief Deputy Rick Minerd of the Franklin County Sheriff’s Office says the task force takes a look at fatal and nonfatal overdose situations in the community.

“Working those cases back from a law-enforcement standpoint to a identify, find the source supplier of the drugs and lock those people up, but also link the families who are suffering from this disease of addiction up with services moving forward so they can get themselves out of this unfortunate situation,” said Minerd.

Franklin County Prosecutor Ron O’Brien says there have now been approximately half a dozen indictments involving drug dealers being held responsible for overdose deaths since the H.O.P.E. Task Force was created.

“While we could always charge someone who gave drugs to someone that caused their death, usually the investigation wasn’t done to connect the dots. Now they will respond to the scene in addition to trying to help the person that may be  suffering from an overdose, interview them and find out the source of the drug,” said O’Brien.

Published by nbc4i.com