Patterson sentenced to 20 years in Girard teen's death - 21 News Now, More Local News for Youngstown, Ohio -

Patterson sentenced to 20 years in Girard teen's death

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WARREN, Ohio - The man convicted of delivering a deadly dose of heroin that ended up claiming the life of a Girard teen is going to prison.

James Patterson, of Youngstown, will spend the next 20 years in prison.

Trumbull County Common Pleas Judge Ronald Rice imposed the sentence on James, the supplier of the drug, in court Thursday.

Patterson was convicted of reckless homicide in the death of Christine Sheesley on her 17th birthday on April 12, 2012.

It was that day prosecutors say Patterson provided the heroin that Sheeley's friend Tyler Stevens injected into the teenage girl.

"A simple warning for friends to call for help was all you had to do, you did nothing," Rice said.

Patterson is also convicted on other charges including corrupting another with drugs and trafficking heroin.

Judge Rice described both Patterson and Stevens as morally bankrupt after not helping Sheesley when she became unresponsive after she used the drug.

"You and Tyler Stevens are every parent's worse nightmare, a drug dealer and a drop out, unemployed, loser drug addict, both with no morals, who help young girls they meet on Facebook get hooked on drugs and celebrate their 17th birthday by killing her," Rice said.

This is only the second case where Trumbull County prosecutors have pursued the supplier of a drug that results in the death of another person.

Patterson's stiff punishment was just the outcome the prosecution was waiting for in order to send others a harsh message.

"We are going to impose the maximum sentence possible under law against people that the state can prove, beyond a reasonable doubt, engaged in the conduct that ultimately lead to the dead of individuals," said Trumbull County prosecutor Chuck Morrow.

Stevens plead guilty to similar charges and is expected to be sentenced in early June.

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