Convictions upheld in fatal drug sale


The Ohio 3rd District Court of Appeals, Lima, has affirmed the convictions of Nathan Brown, a Findlay man who was found guilty last year of killing Jarrod Barger, another Findlay man, by selling Barger a mixture of heroin and fentanyl.

Brown was convicted of manslaughter, a first-degree felony, and corrupting another with drugs, a second-degree felony.

The appeals court ruling was filed March 12.

Brown was sentenced last May to seven years in prison and ordered to pay $9,981 in restitution. He is being held at the North Central Correctional Institution, a privately-operated state prison in Marion.

Phil Riegle, Hancock County prosecutor, said the appeals court ruling was not a surprise.

“We felt pretty good after the trial,” he said. “We thought the issues that would have been brought up in appeal were covered.”

Brown argued in the appeal that his convictions were not supported by sufficient evidence, that the convictions went against the weight of the evidence, and that his rights had been violated by failing to preserve evidence and an ineffective lawyer.

The appeals court said the convictions did not go against the weight of the evidence. The court found the jurors were not led astray in their decision.

Brown argued that the state failed to prove he knowingly gave fentanyl to Barger. But the appeals court said that under Ohio law, the state only needed to prove that Brown sold Barger a controlled substance that caused his death.

Because the state could prove that Brown sold Barger the substances that caused his death, the state could then also prove that Brown had committed involuntary manslaughter, the appeals court said.

The court said the state produced enough evidence to lead to the conviction.

The appeals court also said there was no evidence that Brown’s lawyer during the trial and sentencing, Merle Dech Jr., was ineffective. Brown is now represented by Ronald L. Frey.

McClory: 419-427-8497
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