Austintown man sentenced for heroin death - WFMJ.com News weather sports for Youngstown-Warren Ohio

Austintown man sentenced for heroin death

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YOUNGSTOWN, Ohio - The family of an Austintown man says there's no justice, after the man who provided their son with the heroin that killed him escapes prison time.

Gino Mancuso, a 2006 graduate of Austintown Fitch High School and a senior at Carnegie Mellon University, died at the age of 21 of a heroin overdose in November of 2009.

Now the man who authorities say purchased the drug for Mancuso receives his punishment.

James Fortunato Jr., 23, who originally was charged with involuntary-manslaughter in the death, pleaded guilty to a reduced charge of reckless homicide, and apologized to the family before receiving his sentence.

"No matter what the outcome of my sentence today, nothing compares to the punishment that I am already experiencing, having to live with the guilt of this for the rest of my life," Fortunato said.

In a victim impact statement, Dan Mancuso, the father of the victim told Judge John Durkin, "Our lives have been shattered. Our pain is deep, and our pain is real. Our lives have been changed forever."

The prosecutor on the case asked that Fortunato be sentenced to prison, but Judge John Durkin acknowledged along with the prosecution that there were a number of hurdles in this case.

Assistant Mahoning County Prosecutor Martin Desmond tells 21 News, "All of the cases up until this point, and if you look at case law on these type of cases, they were cases where the defendant had either injected the victim and the victim passed away or provided a dose that was a lethal dose. In this case we didn't have that, in this case what we had was two friends that put their money together, and bought drugs, and used them, and one of them died."

The Judge sentenced Fortunato to five years probation, 200 hours of community service that will include speaking to young people about drug addiction, and he's ordered to pay court costs and a $500 fine.

The victim's family says Gino Mancuso's life was worth more than $500 dollars, and for them no jail means no justice.

"We're just very disappointed. Feel injustice was served here today. No jail time whatsoever, just horrific," said Marianne Mancuso, the victim's mother.

The Mancuso's say they'll never be the same.

Now all they can ask is that their son be remembered for how he lived, not how he died.

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