Western Brown’s Leto excels in Australia Rockets ready for 1st season in SBAAC Paddling, hiking activities available at Ohio State Parks SB Warriors get set to hit gridiron for 2nd year of varsity football Scotty W Johnson Glenna V Moertle Ricky L Hoffer Ruth E Ward David A Watson Janet L Dotson Vilvie S King Steven C Utter Cropper joins Fallis at Bethel-Tate Local kids find success in world of martial arts 13th annual Bronco 5K Run and Fitness Walk set for Aug. 5 Teams compete in memory of Randy Fulton Mike W Smith Roger Helton David A Borders Timothy E Argenbright Joseph W Sherrill Frances K Pedigo Cecil N Graham Sawyers charged in sex for heroin plot Group demands changes at ELSD Blanche Malblanc Pauline L Kirk Over 70 take part in 11th Joe Myers 5K Classic Lions Club 4th of July Festival brings outdoor fun to Ripley ODNR reminds visitors to swim safe this summer Changes in high school track and field/cross country rules include school issued and approved uniforms Betty L Philpott Judy B Williams Billie J Russell Remembering Ravye 25 attend volleyball camp in Fayetteville Western Brown hosts Pee Wee Football Camp Eugene L Baumann Kids enjoy a ‘Touch-a-Truck’ event in Mt. Orab New police chief takes over in Fayetteville BC Chamber moving forward on 2017 SummerFest Two killed in wrong way crash in Mt. Orab Jack Hamilton Charles L Glover Maxine M Stires Western Brown youth basketball camps a success Leto to represent Team USA in Australia Broncos hard at work in preparation for fall season Eastern approves bowling team Phyllis Ruth Lois A Manley Eddie L Carr Thomas L Carnahan Cameron Barkley Walter J McGee Gary J Graham George D Johnson Walter F Crawford Jr Charles E Meranda Jr Corbin testifies before Ohio Senate Five arrested in Hamersville drug bust Neil Diamond tribute band coming Hyde finds home at Midway Youngsters work to improve on hoop skills at Eastern basketball camps Sizer named All-District Honorable Mention Western Brown’s Barnes earns All-State, All-District honors Local players compete in SWOFCA Ron Woyan East/West All-Star Game 6th annual Ravye Williams Memorial 3-on-3 Basketball Tournament set for June 24 Clarence E Teal Rosie B Poe Monard C Boots James P Conrad James T Dinser Scott J Swearingen Eastern’s Farris earns award for top 2-point field percentage in Ohio Georgetown’s Seigla earns All-District honors OHSAA announces 2017 football regions and playoffs format Western Brown volleyball camps a success with over 100 in attendance Rigdon finishes high school running career with 10th place finish at state track and field championship meet Grace E Fite Women return to county jail as funds start to run low Georgetown Council takes action on vacant structures Veterans honored in Mt. Orab John McGee Timmy Burson Patricia A London Mary J Hall Kenneth R Behymer Western Brown’s Joe Sams commits to Marietta College WBHS to hold girls youth basketball camp Huseman signs with UC Clermont Day to continue baseball career on collegiate level at UC Clermont Western’s Pack signs with NKU WBHS to host youth boys basketball camp Eastern’s Rigdon, Hopkins are STATE BOUND James Ratliff Robert P Lesko Armstrong sentenced to twenty years on child porn possession charges Russellville hires new Village Clerk Russellville Council approves purchase of two ambulances

Georgetown’s Kevin Blake Tucker was sentenced to four years in prison for involuntary manslaughter

GEORGETOWN — A new county-wide initiative to charge drug dealers in overdose deaths has produced its first guilty verdict.

Kevin Blake Tucker, 22, of Georgetown, was sentenced to four years in the Ohio Department of Corrections after he accepted a plea bargain and pleaded guilty to one count of involuntary manslaughter, a first-degree felony. With credit for time served in the Brown County Adult Detention Center, Tucker will remain locked up until June 16, 2019.

Tucker was involved in the death of 62-year-old Danny Smith on the evening of June 17, 2015 in Georgetown. According to court documents filed with the Brown County Municipal Court, Tucker and Georgetown resident Maribeth Denny drove to Cincinnati to purchase heroin. When they returned, Denny, Tucker, and Smith split the heroin. At approximately 7:48 p.m. that evening, the Georgetown Police Department was dispatched to Smith’s home on New Street for a potential overdose.

Georgetown EMS arrived five minutes later, according to a probable cause affidavit, but eventually ended chest compressions and called the Brown County Coroner, Dr. Judith Varnau.

It’s unclear, according to the affidavit, who gave Smith the heroin, but both Tucker and Denny were arrested and jailed for their involvement. Denny was later released, but a recent probation violation has her back in the Brown County Jail.

Tucker was indicted by the Brown County Grand Jury on August 13 with two counts of involuntary manslaughter, a first-degree felony, one count of corrupting another with drugs, a second-degree felony, and one count of trafficking in heroin, a fifth-degree felony. As part of his plea bargain, counts two, three, and four were dismissed.

Tucker’s conviction is likely to be just the first of many as the Brown County Prosecutor’s Office looks to try and uproot the deadly drug epidemic that Brown County and all of Southwest Ohio is faced with.

At his sentencing hearing, Gusweiler read out the names of 37 friends and family members who wrote letters to the court in support of Tucker. While Gusweiler was impressed with the outpouring of support, he said what was more important to him was Tucker’s extensive record with the Brown County Juvenile Court.

“All these letters were telling me what a great guy you were, and I was like ‘holy cow’!” Gusweiler said. “And then I looked at your prior record, and that told me you weren’t a good guy. You were either spoiled, you were either kowtowed to, you either thought that you were better than everyone else, and you thought you were going to do your own this. This isn’t juvenile court, son.”

Gusweiler also labeled Tucker as a “punk,” which Tucker agreed was a fair statement.

Tucker then went on a long, eloquent speech, explaining to Gusweiler and his family how he has changed since he was incarcerated.

“I’d like to start by letting everyone know how sorry I am, the victim’s family mainly, for everything that’s happened, and I want my family to know that I’m sorry for putting them through this as well,” Tucker said. “This has been pretty hard on me and I’m sure it’s been hard on them.

“They say when you live the life I’ve been living, you can end up in one of two places; dead, or in prison. I consider myself lucky to have one and not the other.

“I appear you before court after the most gut-wrenching and humuliating experience that I’ve probably ever had to do, and I wouldn’t wish that upon anybody nor would I ever want to go through anything like this ever in my life. But I try to look at the positive and maintain a positive attitude about things, and accepting a positive attitude about things. Accepting responsibility for what happened was a big part in this, and I felt that’s what I needed to do, so I did that.

“This might sound kind of ironic since I’ve been locked up and in jail, but this whole experience has been kind of freeing. I’ve had a clear mind. My mom can sleep at night. I’m sober today. I’m alive. When I’m out there using and living the life I’m living, I’m not alive. It’s not something I wish upon anybody nor something I want to fall into again, nor do I plan to.

“So now I just try to take whatever’s thrown at me and then take it in the right direction, use everything to grow through this experience and not sit back and look at what’s happened. I believe I have control over what’s left of the situation and I’m going to do my best to take care of it.”

Smith’s daughter Stephanie Fleming then spoke at the sentencing hearing, and in tearful remarks, asked for justice to be done.

Assistant Prosecuting Attorney Zac Corbin described how he knew Tucker when he was a youngster, when Tucker was on Corbin’s youth basketball team. But Corbin continued that at some point, Tucker took a wrong turn and it got to the point where it seemed that Tucker was proud of his drug use.

“I don’t argue that Mr. Tucker wanted Danny Smith to die,” Corbin said. “I don’t think he purposefully caused the death, but that’s not what involuntary manslaughter is. He brought the drug to Danny Smith, he furnished that drug that caused the death. We would just ask the court to sentence him accordingly.”

Along with reading Tucker his sentence, Gusweiler instructed Tucker to live up to his potential, for Fleming’s sake.

“You’ll have Thanksgiving,” Gusweiler said. “You’ll have Christmas. You’ll have time with your family. Ms. Fleming never will. She doesn’t have her dad but now you’re going to show through your conduct what a success you can be, and as you learn through this awful tragedy that you occasioned upon them. No longer juvenile court. No longer being a punk.

“You do your time and you do it responsibly. Ms. Fleming is owed no less. She deserves every day, you thinking about how you’re going to improve yourself to make her proud of you. She deserves that. She’s owed that. Your county deserves that. We’re owed that.”

Two other individuals, were indicted on August 13 on charges of involuntary manslaughter on separate, unrelated incidents.

Brandy Keith, 33, of Mt. Orab, has a sentencing hearing on November 4 for her case. The case of Joshua Brockman, 34, of Mt. Orab, is currently still in the pre-trial portion. Both Keith and Brockman have pleaded not guilty to the charges but remain in the Brown County Jail.

First conviction from a county-wide initiative to curb drug abuse

By Daniel Karell

dkarell@civitasmedia.com

Reach Daniel Karell at 937-378-6161. Follow him on Twitter @GNDKarell

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