Man Convicted in Heroin Overdose Death

James Patterson
James Patterson

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A Youngstown man was found guilty Thursday for selling a deadly dose of heroin to a Girard teenager who died from overdosing on the drug on her 17th birthday.

James Patterson, 28, was convicted Thursday of reckless homicide, drug trafficking charges and tampering with evidence following a three-day jury trial in Trumbull County Common Pleas Court.

He was found not guilty of involuntary manslaughter and possessing cocaine.

“No, Tyler Stevens did everything. I didn’t do nothing,” said Patterson after the verdict was read. “I wasn’t even there. It’s crazy, it’s a crazy verdict. I don’t understand how they found me guilty when he plead guilty to everything.”

Patterson, a convicted sex offender, sold Christine Sheesley, 17, heroin she eventually overdosed on. Another man, Tyler Stevens, 20, pleaded guilty last month to involuntary manslaughter and drug charges for setting up the drug deal.

Sheesley died after taking the drug at Steven’s apartment. He will be sentenced next month. Sheesley’s mother said she was glad Patterson was convicted.

“You know the message I take from this is he is still responsible,” said Assistant Trumbull County Prosecutor Chuck Morrow. “You are putting an illegal substance into someone’s hands that results in another person dying.”

Patterson could be sentenced to up to at least 20 years in prison next Thursday.

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