Strategy Questioned in Overdose Prosecution

Jun 1, 2017

A former UMass graduate student will be sentenced Wednesday in the heroin overdose death of another student.

Jesse Carrillo was found guilty of involuntary manslaughter and distribution after Eric Sinacori died from heroin supplied by Carrillo.

Harvard Law Professor Ronald Sullivan said that going after drug dealers for manslaughter has become more common across the country, but he questions the legal approach.

"For a manslaughter case, the government has to show beyond a reasonable doubt that the seller acted so recklessly that death was foreseeable," he said. "It's not foreseeable that someone is going to overdose. I think what they think and what they intend is that someone is going to come back and back and back again."

A spokeswoman for District Attorney David Sullivan said this is the second time the office has pursued manslaughter charges against a drug dealer in an overdose death. But she declined to discuss how the DA decides which cases merit that strategy.