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Throop man pleads guilty to manslaughter charge after selling fentanyl-laced heroin

The Throop man accused of selling a bundle of heroin laced with fentanyl that resulted in a fatal overdose pleaded guilty to a manslaughter charge this week in Cayuga County Court.

Michael Chapman pleaded guilty to five counts of felony criminal sale of a controlled substance and one count of criminal possession of a controlled substance.

Chapman faces 10 years in prison followed by two years post-release supervision. The court promised to impose concurrent sentence not to exceed 4 to 12 years of imprisonment on the manslaughter charge.

Chapman admitted that he consciously disregarded the known risk of a fatal overdose when he sold the drugs. He also confessed to selling the drugs to the victim despite knowing the heroin contained fentanyl.

“We need to hold drug dealers accountable for the death and destruction they are causing, and that is precisely what this guilty plea does,” Deputy Chief Assistant District Attorney Brittany Grome Antonacci said. “This defendant was on notice that the drugs he possessed and sold contained both heroin and fentanyl. Despite this knowledge, he did not stop selling that product, which is the epitome of recklessness.”

Detective Sean DeRosa of the Auburn Police Department conducted a nine-month long investigation into the fatal overdose of the victim that occurred on January 18, 2021. That investigation included analysis of cell phones, which revealed evidence that Chapman sold the lethal combination of heroin and fentanyl causing the victim’s overdose death. The victim left behind two small children.

“New York States needs to step up as a leader in the fight against the heroin epidemic and pass a statute which allows for the prosecution of those individuals who sell drugs that cause the death of another person.” Antonacci said. “District Attorney’s Offices around the State have been innovative in how these cases are being investigated and prosecuted. However, prosecution should not depend on cell phone messages or a confession in order to hold a drug dealer accountable for killing someone. We are thankful for the thorough investigation conducted by the Auburn Police Department, as well as the investigation into the narcotic sales by members of the New York State Police. This case sends a message to the People of Cayuga County: If you sell drugs and kill someone, we will do everything in our power to hold you accountable.”