GEORGETOWN — A second person has been sentenced to prison as part of a county-wide initiative to hold drug dealers responsible for drug overdoses.
Brown County Court of Common Pleas Judge Scott T. Gusweiler sentenced Brandy Keith to four years in the Ohio Department of Corrections on November 4 for a conviction on one count of involuntary manslaughter, a first-degree felony.
The sentence includes enrolling Keith in a substance abuse program and changing offender behavior program while she’s locked up, as well as a mandatory five years of post-release control. Keith is 34-years old and from Mt. Orab.
According to court documents filed with the Brown County Municipal Court, Keith was involved in the eventual death of Terry Day, who was 54. According to a probable cause affidavit, on April 11, Keith met up with Day and the pair of them drove to Cincinnati to purchase $50 worth of heroin.
When the pair were near the Eastgate Mall, the two allegedly snorted heroin at a traffic light. Soon after, Day passed out. Keith then drove the unconscious Day back to his home and had his mother help her get Day out of the car. Keith then left the residence, leaving Day to die in front of his mother. At Keith’s sentencing hearing, Gusweiler admonished her for her actions, as well as for giving controdictory statements to the court’s probation department.
“She told Mr. (Ryan) Gallanstein (of the Brown County Probation Department) that she didn’t use with (Day) on that day and that he must have used at home, which is in direct controdiction of the evidence that was pled to,” Gusweiler said.
Later, Gusweiler added, “The facts surrounding it are, you can’t react much worse than dumping a body out on the driveway of the mother and say ‘oh, he just passed out’, and leave him to die. That’s the facts.”
An autopsy from the Montgomery County Coroner’s office showed that Day died of heroin and ethanol intoxication.
The investigation into Day’s death began in earnest on June 2 when Day’s mother made a statement to the Mt. Orab Police Department about what she saw on the night Day died.
Two days later, Day’s mother turned in his cell phone to the MOPD as evidence in the case, showing a number of text messages with Keith regarding the sale of narcotics.
The MOPD received a search warrant on June 10 from the municipal court to go search Keith’s home and Keith’s phone, drug paraphernalia, and several unidentified pills were all taken as evidence. It was also discovered during the search that Keith had filled a prescription for 84 pills of buprenorphine on four occasions earlier in 2015.
In an interview with the MOPD, according to the documents, Keith admitted that she had driven with Day on “five or six” other occasions to Cincinnati to purchase heroin, and she had driven other’s into Cincinnati to do the same.
Keith was arraigned in the court of common pleas on August 13, according to her case docket, and withdrew her guilty plea and pleaded guilty on October 5. Five other counts, including another first-degree felony involuntary manslaughter charge were dropped as part of the plea deal.
At her sentencing hearing, Keith showed no remorse for her actions, and declined to speak when prompted by Gusweiler.
“How many people have to die,” Gusweiler asked rhetorically to Keith.
Keith’s defense attorney Val Lewis II argued that it was on the prosecution to prove that Keith’s personal responsibility for Day was improper while the pair of them were ” very engrossed in drug abuse, both voluntarily doing their own actions that day.” Lewis argued that Keith’s misconduct was solely based on her actions after Day became unconscious in her car.
In their rebuttal, Brown County Prosecuting Office Assistant Attorney Chris Van Harlingen argued for the State of Ohio that even after Day pass away, Keith continued to sell heroin. Van Harlingen also described how Day, while he was a drug addict, used to help his mother with chores around the house.
“She said I’ll miss him until I die,” Van Harlingen said referencing a letter from Day’s mother. The State of Ohio recommended a five to six year prison sentence.
Keith’s sentence was the second since the Brown County Prosecutor’s Office began charging those who supply drugs to victims who die of a drug overdose with involuntary manslaughter. Kevin Blake Tucker was sentenced on October 5 to four years in prison for his role in the death of Danny Smith.