An Akron man is accused of selling a lethal dose of heroin mixed with a powerful painkiller to a woman who died of an overdose.
Jack Shaffer, 21, of Stephens Road in Akron, is being held in the Summit County Jail on one count of involuntary manslaughter and drug trafficking.
His bond was set at $100,000 following an appearance in Akron Municipal Court.
Akron police say Shaffer purchased the heroin used by Julia Robbins, 23, of East Glenwood Avenue, on March 29. The drug led to the death of Robbins, police said. She was found dead at a North Seiberling Avenue residence of a female friend.
Police say Shaffer drove with Robbins to an apartment and went inside and bought the heroin from Brian Newell Jr., 20. Robbins waited outside the Wren Walk apartment.
Newell, the son of Akron Councilwoman Tara Mosley-Samples, was charged with drug trafficking and not manslaughter after the police investigation was reviewed by city prosecutors, police said.
According to police reports and the Summit County Medical Examiner’s Office, Robbins went to the North Seiberling Avenue apartment to join several friends. She was drinking alcohol and later, friends said she was seen snorting what appeared to be heroin.
At about 12:30 a.m., she was found unconscious outside the apartment. Friends brought her back inside and left her on a floor. About eight hours later, a friend leaving the apartment found her dead, reports show.
Toxicology tests revealed Robbins had fentanyl, a powerful painkiller, as well as heroin in her system. Her blood-alcohol level was 0.20 percent, more than double the legal limit, reports show.
On her Facebook page, Robbins, an East High School grad who was attending the University of Akron, posted the night before her death.
“Im kickin it tonight idec,” she wrote. IDEC is an abbreviation for “I don’t even care.” Earlier that night she wrote: “Down in the dumps.”
Her mother, Karen Robbins, said Wednesday that she was pleased with the arrest and hopes Shaffer does some prison time. She said her daughter was not a drug user, but rather she had an alcohol problem and had been in rehab several times in recent years.
“We tried everything we could to get her straightened out,” Karen Robbins said.
Powdered forms of fentanyl have been increasingly found mixed into heroin and often contribute to death.
Shaffer is the second Summit County resident in recent years who was charged with manslaughter after providing someone else with a fatal dose of heroin.
A Coventry Township woman was convicted in October in the heroin overdose deaths of two men three years apart.
Danielle Hoover, 30, is serving a five-year prison term.
Summit County sheriff’s deputies linked her to two heroin-related deaths: Richard Allen Davis, 40, of Coventry, in 2009; and Rollie Harmon, 34, of Akron, in 2013.
Prosecutors say Hoover was with the men around the time they used heroin and died.
Robbins’ death is not related to the five apparent heroin-related deaths that have taken place in Akron in recent weeks, police say.
Shaffer’s arrest punctuates a citywide initiative to combat heroin use and trafficking. Earlier this year, Akron Police Chief James Nice formed a special unit to target drug dealers in the event of fatal overdoses. Shaffer is the first to be arrested and charged with a person’s death by the unit.
In addition, local agencies, including Akron, Summit County, the Alcohol Drug Addiction & Mental Health Services Board of Summit County, and Summit County Juvenile Court, have started a community-awareness campaign on the dangers of heroin use and addiction.
Several media companies have donated billboards, ad space and radio spots to assist in the campaign.
Nice appointed detectives Mike Schmidt and Tim Harvey to the heroin unit. Their assignment started two days early when Robbins was found dead. Nice on Wednesday said he personally visited the apartment while Robbins’ body was still inside.
He said the friends inside appeared “unfazed” by the woman’s body. The scene reaffirmed his mantra to hold people accountable when someone overdoses on heroin. He compared the deaths to drunken driving cases where someone dies. Those cases are also elevated to manslaughter or vehicular homicide.
“To me, this is just as reckless as drunken driving,” he said. “So, I think it’s reasonable to hold people accountable when someone dies from using heroin. Everyone knows people are dying from using heroin. So to me, this is just as reckless.”