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Heroin supplier to spend six years in prison

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Gazette Staff
May 2, 2008
— The first person in Walworth County convicted of homicide by delivering drugs will spend six years in prison, a judge decided Thursday.

Michael E. Flaherty, 27, Burlington, pleaded guilty to reckless homicide March 5 in the death of his best friend, Joseph William May. He was convicted of supplying the heroin that contributed to May’s overdose March 18, 2007.


Flaherty told a police informant May died in his basement apartment after drinking “almost a whole bottle” of rum and shooting up “like three times,” according to the criminal complaint. Flaherty then sold $60 worth of heroin to the informant, the complaint said.


Flaherty faced up to 40 years in prison and extended supervision under the Len Bias law, named after a University of Maryland basketball star who died from a cocaine overdose in 1986.


But Phil Koss, Walworth County district attorney, said he was pleased with Flaherty’s sentence of six years in prison and seven years extended supervision.


“Clearly, even the victim’s family realizes (May) bears some of the responsibility, that he didn’t come into this completely innocent, being a heroin user himself,” Koss said.


He noted Flaherty was cooperative in the investigation, expressed remorse and had no prior record.


Still, the seriousness of the charge required some prison time, Koss said.


“I hope it sends a deterrent to others,” Koss said. “I don’t think anyone intends to do this, but obviously it’s so dangerous that some price that has to paid.”



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