Holmes woman gets prison for selling heroin linked to Wayne OD death

For selling the heroin responsible for a Wayne County heroin overdose death, a former Millersburg woman on Wednesday was sentenced to 11 months in prison.

Kristin Johnson, 26, of 186 Grover St., Killbuck, previously pleaded guilty in Holmes County Common Pleas Court to trafficking in heroin and possession of heroin. In exchange for her guilty plea, the state agreed to dismiss a related charge of possession of drug abuse instruments.

While investigators requested involuntary manslaughter charges be filed against Kristin Johnson, Holmes County Prosecutor Steve Knowling said he didn't think it was possible because there was a third party who served as a go-between.

Nevertheless, Knowling said, her actions did lead to another's death, and he asked Judge Robert Rinfret to impose the strongest and lengthiest sentence possible.

"It's an example of what's going on not just in our county, but Wayne County," he said.

Defense attorney Mark Baserman suggested Johnson had no prison factors, and, in fact lobbied for a light community control sentence noting she voluntarily addressed her own addiction even before being indicted.

Because her actions resulted in physical harm to another person, Rinfret said he was able to impose a prison term. Beyond the death that resulted from her actions, Rinfret also cited her apparent lack of remorse when told about it by investigators.

In what Rinfret called a "horrendous" interview, Johnson reportedly was unphased when told about the overdose, suggesting the man did too much of a drug she had warned the buyer was strong.

Nevertheless, he said, "Victim suffered serious physical harm. You had to know there was a possibility of that."

She told Rinfret she had been addicted to heroin, which she procured from Akron, for more than eight years.

He criticized her for failing to seek treatment for her addiction and notes she "got a heck of a break" by facing only a fifth-degree felony. "I have a right to send you to prison and I'm going to send you to prison. I don't recall ever not sending someone to prison for selling heroin. Someone died because of what you did."

Her mother, Susan K. Johnson, 50, of 145 W. Henry St., Wooster, previously pleaded guilty to permitting drug abuse. In exchange for her guilty plea, a related charge of possession of drug abuse instruments was dismissed.

She faces up to six months in jail and was also scheduled to be sentenced on Wednesday, however, that hearing was continued to Dec. 22 to determine if she can stay clean on her own.

The charges stem from a Jan. 22, 2015, sale of heroin Kristin Johnson made at her Millersburg home to Gary L. Martin III. The drugs eventually ended up in the hands of Adam Marty, who died from an overdose on the purchased heroin.

An investigation launched by the Medway Drug Enforcement Agency in the wake of Marty's death led to Martin and Jennifer Phillips, both of whom said the drugs were initially sold to Martin by Kristin Johnson, according to Joshua Hunt, tech agent for Medway.

The information led to a Jan. 30, 2015, search warrant on the Johnson's Deetz Street home, where investigators found heroin laced with fentanyl and Susan Johnson, who was in possession of drugs. Kristin Johnson, who was not home at the time of the warrant, was interviewed and admitted to selling to Martin on the date in question, said Hunt, adding there is evidence she sold to Martin on several occasions.

In July, Martin, 33, 4400 Melrose Drive, Lot 121, Wooster, was sentenced to two years of community control Wednesday by Judge Mark K. Wiest in Wayne County Common Pleas Court. He has since been sent to prison on a probation violation and new drug conviction.

Martin was found guilty in a bench trial May 26 of one count of trafficking in heroin (a fifth-degree felony) by Wiest. He was originally on trial on an indictment for involuntary manslaughter of Adam Marty, who died from heroin he purchased from Martin.

Marty died Jan. 22, 2015. He was 30 years old when he was reported to have overdosed in a trailer on North Bauer Road where Phillips lived at the time.

During Martin's bench trial, evidence presented indicated that Marty knew Phillips, 33, of Rittman -- who was indicted with Martin, and was an ex-girlfriend -- in attempts to get "good heroin" which was laced with fentanyl from his connection in Millersburg.

Phillips was sentenced to 180 days in jail for her role in Marty's death.

Published by the-daily-record.com

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