RAVENNA -- A Hudson man initially charged with involuntary manslaughter for allegedly selling a fatal dose of heroin has admitted to a lesser charge.
Andrew D. Bourassa pleaded guilty recently to one count of attempted corrupting another with drugs, a third-degree felony, in Portage Common Pleas Judge Becky Doherty's courtroom.
Instead of a first-degree felony carrying a potential prison sentence of three to 11 years, Bourassa now faces only one to three years in prison. Doherty ordered him interviewed for placement in the Northeast Ohio Community Alternative Program, a drug treatment center for convicted felons, located in Warren.
A Portage County grand jury in December indicted Bourassa, 28, on three felony charges -- involuntary manslaughter, corrupting another with drugs and trafficking in heroin -- following an investigation by the Portage County Drug Task Force into the November 2015 death of 27-year-old Scott Haney of Aurora.
Prosecutor Victor Vigluicci said the drug task force agent assigned to the case told his office that Bourassa and Haney were friends who bought and shared drugs together.
In the incident that led to the criminal charges, Bourassa purchased the heroin and shared it with Haney on Nov. 11, 2015. Haney overdosed and died -- one of more than 30 people who died of accidental drug overdoses in Portage County in 2015, according to the Portage County Coroner's Office.
"In light of these facts, the officer requested that we not proceed with the manslaughter and offer the lesser charge," Vigluicci said. Haney's family did not appear in court or participate in the proceedings, he added.
A total of 51 people died of accidental or intentional drug overdoses in Portage County in 2016. The drug epidemic and number of overdose deaths has led prosecutors in Portage County to seek charges against those who provide deadly drugs to overdose victims.
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