COLUMBUS, Ohio (WCMH) — The Franklin County Grand Jury has returned an indictment against Jamie Maynard, 26, for allegedly selling another woman heroin the same day that woman died of an overdose.
Maynard was indicted on for two counts of involuntary manslaughter (F1), one count of corrupting another with drugs (F2), and one count of trafficking in heroin (F4), for a total of four counts.
Maynard allegedly met Courtney Penix, 24, at the Westpointe Plaza Shopping Center on the west side of Columbus, where she sold heroin to Penix. Approximately an hour later, Penix died from a heroin overdose.
If found guilty on these charges, Maynard faces a maximum sentence of 19 years.
Sheriff Zach Scott and Prosecutor Ron O’Brien recently met to discuss a method to intensively investigate drug overdose deaths particularly due to heroin.
As a result, the Sheriff has assigned two detectives who will investigate drug overdose deaths immediately after the body is discovered and attempt to identify the source of the drug. Cell phones of the deceased, for example, will be seized and searched to identify recent contacts from whom the drugs may have been purchased, and surveillance cameras in an area will be reviewed – all with the goal of identifying the seller of the drugs – primarily heroin – that is the source of the soaring heroin overdose death rate in central Ohio. Once underway, the effort may be be expanded.
The indictment of Jamie Maynard is the first in a series of those kinds of indictments, officials say. Here both cell phones and surveillance footage establish the sale of drugs by Maynard to Courtney Penix at the Walmart at the Westpointe Plaza Shopping Center, and shortly thereafter the discovery of Penix’s body in a restroom at the Meijer in the same area only an hour later, dead from a heroin overdose.
O’Brien said that heroin death task forces in other cities across the country have helped identify offenders with the hope of reducing these deaths.
Scott has assigned two deputies to this project and O’Brien designated one prosecutor in his drug unit who will be part of the project.
According to statistics provided by the Franklin County Coroner’s Office, Heroin related overdose deaths have been drastically increasing for the past several years.
By year’s end, the number of Heroin related overdose deaths is expected to double that of 2012, reflecting a 100% increase in Heroin related overdose deaths in the past three years in Franklin County. It is now more likely in Franklin County to die of a drug overdose than to be killed in a traffic crash.