Summit County overdose trial defendant sentenced to two years in community corrections | SummitDaily.com

Summit County overdose trial defendant sentenced to two years in community corrections

Summit Daily staff report
news@summitdaily.com

District Attorney Bruce Brown (right) introducing evidence during the trial of Will Lancaster, who was acquitted of manslaughter in the overdose death of a friend in 2015 but found guilty of two drug charges. He has been sentenced to two years in community corrections.

Summit County District Court Judge Mark Thompson sentenced 28-year-old Will Lancaster to two years of community corrections for his May 5 conviction for drug possession and use of a controlled substance.

After a three-day trial early last month, a jury acquitted Lancaster of manslaughter and other charges related to the November 2015 opioid overdose death of his friend, Mark Largay, in Blue River.

According to testimony, Lancaster was in another room when Largay ingested a fatal dose of fentanyl, an extremely powerful synthetic opioid. Upon finding his friend unconscious, Lancaster unsuccessfully attempted revive him and called 911.

In the days leading up to the overdose, however, Largay had been inquiring with Lancaster via text message about fentanyl dosages and price, among other things.

"Lancaster advised decedent Largay regarding the price of the patches, how to ingest the Fentanyl and other information to assist Largay's illicit drug use, including offering to share in its consumption," a District Attorney's Office press release announcing the sentence reads.

At trial, the prosecution argued Lancaster was guilty of manslaughter because those text messages were one of the causes of Largay's death. On that point, jurors ultimately sided with the defense, which argued the texts were mere "drug chatter" and that Largay intended to buy and use the fentanyl regardless.

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The jury did, however, find Lancaster guilty of one felony and one misdemeanor for drug possession and drug use, respectively. At the time of the incident, Lancaster and Largay were both enrolled in a drug court program that subjected them to routine drug testing.

Community corrections is an alternative to imprisonment that provides treatment for drug abusers and allows them to find employment in the community. The press release did not specify which community corrections facility in the state Lancaster will be sent to.

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