- Associated Press - Tuesday, March 24, 2015

BATON ROUGE, La. (AP) - A state judge has sentenced a Baton Rouge man to six years in prison in the 2013 overdose death of his girlfriend.

The Advocate reports (https://bit.ly/1Fz7UHj ) District Judge Bonnie Jackson said Monday that Brandon Eirick, 31, had been released from a drug treatment facility just 10 days before police found him and Leah Hutchinson unresponsive in a vehicle on Dec. 18, 2013.

Hutchinson, 31, later died at a hospital, leaving behind a young daughter. She was one of 34 people in the parish whose death was attributed to an overdose of heroin in 2013.

“Using heroin is exactly like playing Russian roulette,” Jackson told a shackled Eirick, noting that both he and Hutchinson were addicted to the drug. “They were able to bring you back but not her. It could easily have been the other way around.”

Jackson sentenced Eirick to five years in prison for negligent homicide and a concurrent 20 years for heroin distribution, but she suspended all but six years of the 20-year term and gave him credit for the 15 months he has been in jail since his arrest. The judge said the remainder of his term must be served without benefit of probation, parole or suspension of sentence.

Eirick was booked on a second-degree murder charge but was indicted last April on charges of manslaughter and heroin possession. He pleaded guilty in October to negligent homicide, a lesser charge than manslaughter, and distribution of heroin, a stiffer charge than possession.

Eirick told police he bought heroin for Hutchinson but did not inject her with the drug. Eirick and Hutchinson injected themselves, prosecutors have said.

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Information from: The Advocate, https://theadvocate.com


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