As the holidays approach, Traci Cunningham said the emptiness inside of her caused by the loss of her son nearly 10 months ago hasn't faded.
"I can't hug a memory, I can't hug a photo," Cunningham said. "My pain is never going to go away, it's always going to be here."
Cunningham's son, 22-year-old Chance Harley, was found unresponsive at a home on South 24th Street on March 1. Harley died of a drug overdose, caused by a mixture of cocaine laced with Fentanyl and Carfentanil, opiods 10 and 50 times more powerful than heroin, respectively.
Assistant Licking County Prosecutor Cliff Murphy said 29-year-old Nickolas Traylor sold Harley the drugs on which he fatally overdosed.
During a hearing Tuesday morning before Judge David Branstool in Licking County Common Pleas Court, Traylor entered guilty pleas to seven felonies.
Branstool found Traylor guilty of one count each of involuntary manslaughter, corrupting another with drugs, having weapons under disability, aggravated trafficking in drugs, aggravated possession of drugs, trafficking in cocaine, possession of cocaine and possession of heroin.
Murphy said a search warrant executed at Traylor's Isabelle Road home resulted in detectives finding more than 15 grams of the same cocaine, Fentanyl and Carfentanil mixture.
A nine-millimeter handgun and more than $1,100 in cash were also located. Traylor, who was a fugitive at the time, admitted to purchasing the gun from a pawn shop for protection.
Traylor also admitted to deleting text messages from his phone related to drug sales, Murphy said.
Traylor's attorney, Diane Menashe, said Traylor had sold the drugs to Harley's girlfriend, who then gave them to Harley, who shot up and overdosed.
Cunningham wept in the courtroom as she recounted her son's honesty, even confiding in her about his addiction, and his ability to make everyone around him smile.
She said she has nightmares of her son lying on the floor unable to breathe and struggles to sleep because of what she may see in her dreams.
"The only normalcy in my life was my son," she said. "I don't want a new normal without him."
As part of a jointly recommended sentence by Murphy and Traylor's attorney, Diane Menashe, Branstool ordered Traylor to serve five years in prison.
Four years of the sentence is mandatory.
Published by www.newarkadvocate.com