A Centralia woman convicted of controlled substance homicide for delivering fake oxycodone pills to a man who later consumed them and died of an overdose in October 2020 was sentenced in Lewis County Superior Court on Wednesday.
Judge James Lawler sentenced the defendant, Alexandria J. Delaney, 25, of Centralia, to serve 12 months and one day in jail followed by 12 months in community custody. She is additionally required to pay $600 in legal fees in addition to a restitution amount that will be determined at a later hearing.
Delaney was charged alongside two juvenile co-defendants on Oct. 28, 2020, for allegedly delivering a controlled substance to 32-year-old Tyler Gussin between Oct. 21 and Oct. 23, which resulted in Gussin’s death on Oct. 23 by acute fentanyl intoxication.
According to court documents, Gussin had been suffering from a recent back injury and was unable to make a timely appointment with a care provider to get a prescription for painkillers. Delaney, who was friends with Gussin, told him she knew somebody — her cousin and co-defendant, a juvenile identified in court documents as A.S. — who could supply him with Percocet, a combination drug containing acetaminophen and oxycodone, if he needed it. Delaney arranged for Gussin to purchase the painkillers from A.S., who got them from a juvenile codefendant identified in court documents as B.S.C. Delaney ultimately delivered the pills to Gussin and took $300 in payment, which was then given to A.S. who in turn gave the money to B.S.C.
A Washington State Patrol crime lab report later revealed that the pills delivered to Gussin were actually fake pills made from fentanyl, an extremely potent synthetic opioid, and pressed to look like Percocet.
After delivering the pills, Delaney learned “they might be of questionable quality” and sent Gussin a Snapchat message advising him to only take one portion of the pills “just to be safe,” according to court documents.
“Too late,” Gussin messaged in reply.
On Oct. 23, Gussin’s family called 911 to report Gussin was unconscious and unresponsive. He was pronounced dead that same day.
An autopsy later confirmed his cause of death to be acute fentanyl intoxication.
Delaney and the two juvenile co-defendants were each charged with controlled substance homicide and an investigation by the Centralia Police Department found three other Centralia residents — Felicia M. Segerman, 24; Larencia M. Moore, 19; and Marcus J. Inman, 32 — who were allegedly involved in the supply chain for the fake Percocet. Segerman and Moore were each charged with distribution of a controlled substance to a person under 18 and Inman was charged with delivery of a controlled substance.
Segerman accepted a plea deal on amended charges and was sentenced May 19 to serve 36 months in jail followed by 12 months in community custody. She is also required to pay $600 in fees and a restitution amount that will be determined at a later court date.
Moore entered a guilty plea on March 23 and is awaiting sentencing later this month. The state agreed to recommend a 30-day jail sentence converted into 240 hours of community service.
Inman entered an Alford plea, meaning he does not admit guilt but pleaded guilty in order to take advantage of a plea agreement, on Aug. 18. He was sentenced that same day to serve 96 months in jail followed by 12 months in community custody, and will also be required to pay $500 in fees and a restitution amount that will be determined at a later court date.
The status of the juveniles’ cases is unknown.
Delaney pleaded guilty to one count of controlled substance homicide on July 9.
“Although I thought the controlled substance was Percocet pills, it turned out they were ‘fake’ Percocet pills made with fentanyl, which is also a controlled substance,” said Delaney in her written guilty plea.
The maximum penalty for controlled substances homicide is 10 years in prison but due to Delaney’s lack of prior criminal history, the standard sentencing range was between 51 and 68 months. However, both parties agreed on a sentence below the standard range due to mitigating circumstances surrounding Delaney’s involvement in the case — specifically the fact that “to a significant degree, the victim was an initiator, willing participant, aggressor or provoker of the incident,” according to court documents.
“Although it does not change her criminal liability, the facts of the case do suggest a lesser degree of culpability than what would normally be seen in a controlled substance homicide case,” argued defense attorney Paul Strophy in a written memo to the court.
Delaney, who is the mother of two children under the age of 10 and is due to give birth to a third child in October, additionally requested a Parenting Sentencing Alternative to prison confinement, a program established by the state Legislature in 2010 that allows some nonviolent inmates who have minor children to remain with their children out of custody.
She requested a Family and Offender Sentencing Alternative (FOSA), in which the judge waives the jail sentence for eligible persons and imposes 12 months of community custody along with conditions for treatment.
While Lawler agreed to set his sentence below the standard range, he made the finding that Delaney’s involvement was a key element in the victim’s death and denied the FOSA request, requiring Delaney to serve jail time.
Delaney was taken into custody immediately following her Sept. 15 sentencing hearing and is currently being held at the Lewis County Jail.
Delaney can still apply for another Parenting Sentencing Alternative program called a Community Parenting Alternative, where she serves part of her jail sentence in custody and can serve the remainder via electronic home monitoring in order to reunite with her family.
An email from Department of Corrections Corrections Specialist Lynn Stuart to both parties on Sept. 11 indicates that Delaney qualifies to give birth at the Washington Corrections Center for Women and may apply for the CPA program as soon as she arrives at the facility.
“I have already spoken to our program administrator and she assures me that Ms. Delaney would be approved,” Stuart wrote in the email.