DOYLESTOWN, Pa. (AP) — A jury has acquitted a woman in a court test of a revamped law aimed at making it easier to prosecute people who give drugs to someone who fatally overdoses.
Bucks County jurors deliberated for less than an hour Thursday before acquitting Nicole Lavery, 39, of a felony charge of drug delivery resulting in death. The panel convicted her of the lesser charge of delivery of a controlled substance, The (Doylestown) Intelligencer (http://bit.ly/1lPEJU3 ) reported.
Lavery, who lives in Delaware County, was charged in the September death of Megan Boni, 26, of Bensalem, at a motel in Bristol Pike. Lavery said she, Boni and a man decided to use heroin after a night of drinking. She said she passed Boni her share before using her own and passing out, and Boni was dead hours later.
Prosecutors argued that was enough evidence for a conviction, since the delivery charge recently had been revamped to remove the requirement of malice. They presented medical testimony that the victim died of a heroin overdose and said delivery of drugs that prove fatal was all that was required for a conviction.
Defense attorney Gerard Egan, however, argued that Boni had overdosed on prescription antidepressants. He pointed to testimony that she had consumed at least 10 antidepressant pills hours before her death and was also drinking alcohol.
Deputy District Attorney Ryan Hyde said he respected the jury’s verdict but believed it “devalues Megan Boni’s life.”
“The facts were clear; she died after taking drugs that the defendant delivered. She didn’t die from taking pills, she died from taking heroin,” he said.
Egan called the death tragic but said his client wasn’t responsible.
“We all know the truth here. We all know, because of common sense, that Megan caused Megan’s death,” he said.