A Maryland case involving a woman who has been charged with murder in the overdose death of an acquaintance has been delayed.
In part, the delay comes due to the fact that there's a relevant case pending appeal. Prosecutors say that there are so few cases involving this situation that they want to wait until the final outcome of the other case is known.
In this case, the Germantown native, herself a heroin addict, is facing charges of second-degree murder and drug distribution for providing a lethal mixture of drugs to a woman that she met while they were both in rehab. The drugs she provided turned out to be laced with fentanyl, a high-powered narcotic that's been responsible for a string of overdose deaths all over the country.
Maryland is one of many states that have lately begun leveling murder charges against addicts who dabble in dealing when somebody they provide with drugs overdoses. This is a new tactic being taken by prosecutors all over the country as they try to raise the stakes on drug dealers in response to the national drug crisis.
In the case pending appeal, a man who sold heroin to an addict that later overdosed was prosecuted for manslaughter. He was convicted, but the conviction was overruled on the basis that there wasn't a causal connection tying the heroin sale to the overdose death. The case is now set to go before the Maryland Court of Appeals. The judge in the Germantown woman's case ruled that the similar nature of the two cases was enough cause to delay the current trial.
Both of the cases mentioned should serve as a warning to anyone who might think about selling -- or even sharing -- drugs. Overdose deaths are no longer regarded as unfortunate accidents. They're increasingly being treated as some form of homicide and prosecutors may try to find someone to hold accountable.
If you are facing homicide charges due to an overdose death, seek legal advice immediately.