MIAMI COUNTY — A West Milton man pleaded to a lesser charge on Monday in the case of a Concord Township man who passed away from a drug overdose.
James Lennon, 33, of Concord Twp., died of a fentanyl overdose on Feb. 24, 2017. Derek T. Gardner, 33, of West Milton, and Quincy Mattison, 28, of Dayton were each indicted on first-degree felony involuntary manslaughter and fifth-degree felony aggravated trafficking of narcotics in connection with Lennon’s death in Miami County Common Pleas Court in late September.
On Monday, Gardner pleaded guilty to a lesser charge of third-degree felony attempted corruption of another with drugs and to fifth-degree felony aggravated trafficking of narcotics.
The plea was part of a plea agreement with the state to drop the first count of Gardner’s indictment, the charge of first-degree felony involuntary manslaughter. The involuntary manslaughter charge against Gardner is expected to be dropped after he is sentenced for attempted corruption of another with drugs and aggravated trafficking of narcotics.
Gardner is facing up to 36 months in prison and a maximum fine of $10,000 for attempted corruption of another with drugs. He is also facing up to 12 months in prison and a maximum fine of $2,500 for aggravated trafficking of narcotics.
Gardner is scheduled to be sentenced on June 11.
Gardner and Mattison were indicted after the Miami County Sheriff’s Office presented the case to a grand jury last year. According to Sheriff Dave Duchak, detectives were able to identify and collect evidence on two suspects who trafficked the narcotics to Lennon. Detectives also recovered a small amount of fentanyl from the suspects.
This was the first time in the sheriff’s office’s history to charge a suspect with involuntary manslaughter related to the heroin and opiate epidemic. In recent years, the Piqua Police Department charged two people in similar cases, and both were successfully prosecuted by the Miami County Prosecutor’s Office.
Gardner is continuing to be held at the Miami County Jail on $50,000 bond.
Reach Sam Wildow at firstname.lastname@example.org