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Dealer sentenced for involuntary manslaughter in overdose death of bestfriend

Posted at 6:57 PM, Mar 26, 2018
and last updated 2018-03-26 18:57:45-04

A mere $40 that destroyed two eastern shore families. One loses a son forever to heroin and another losing a son to the prison system for more than a dozen years. 

On the night of November 3, 2016, Nathan Johnson came to Grasonville to sell $40 worth of heroin to his best friend, Brandon Roe. Johnson struggled with heroin and knew Roe was a recovering addict, yet Johnson was still there to provide the drug that killed his best friend.

That $40 transaction brought both of their families to court.

"Just another flashback remembering everything that went on the night Brandon died," said Chis Jones, mother of Brandon Roe.

Jones held her son that November night and got to see first hand what $40 worth of heroin could do. 

"That $40 didn't affect just Brandon for the rest of their lives."

Christine Dulla Rickard and Jennifer Doud were prosecuting this case. Like many cases, it didn't go smoothly. There was a minor procedural hearing scheduled one day but, Nathan Johnson could not make it that day.

He did have an excuse though.

"That he was burglarizing a home here in Queen Anne's county, down here in Centreville," said Rickard.

That burglary conviction was a part of this sentencing hearing. In all, Judge Broughton Earnest sentenced Johnson to 14-years. A severe sentence that was not lost on Jones.

"I'll never get over the death of my son and now they have to deal with their son going to prison," said Jones.

This is the first involuntary manslaughter conviction in Queen Anne's county for a drug dealer. Rickard agrees with Judge Earnest's decision of 14-years in jail. 

"He made a very clear statement, that that sentence is for every other dealer that's in Queen Anne's County, it's a productive community, you're not going to get away with it here in Queen Anne's county."