Man Gets Life In Prison After Fiancee ODs On Heroin

| by Michael Allen
Jarret McCaslandJarret McCasland

Jarret McCasland, 26, was convicted of second-degree murder and sentenced to life in prison in February after his 19-year-old fiancee died of a heroin overdose in July 2013 in Baton Rouge, Louisiana.

McCasland received the life sentence after he reportedly injected his girlfriend Flavia Cardenas with heroin on her 19th birthday, The Washington Post reports. He does not have any possibility of parole or probation, according to WAFB.

McCasland was sentenced with a rarely used part of the state's second-degree murder law.

According to East Baton Rouge Parish District Attorney Hillar Moore III, McCasland was the first person convicted in that particular parish under the life-in-prison provision for second-degree murder, reported The Advocate.

Doug McCasland, Jarret's dad, is hiring a new attorney to appeal his son's case.

"He is totally innocent," Doug recently told The Post.

"They took our son from us," Doug added. "The sentence they gave him is a living execution. ... You would not believe the kind of person he is versus the kind of person they portray."

As deaths from heroin and opioids (prescription medications approved by the Federal Drug Administration) continue to skyrocket, more states are charging people who supplied the lethal dose with murder, even if the deceased and the accused were lovers or married.

The parties missing from this get-tough-on-crime effort are the large drug companies that manufacture opioid prescription drugs.

Good Samaritan laws have traditionally protected addicts from criminal charges when they call 911 after another person overdoses.

However states such as New Jersey, Tennessee, West Virginia and Louisiana are reportedly reviving some old "War on Drugs" laws, and lawmakers in New York, Ohio and Virginia are trying to pass bills that include murder charges in drug-overdose deaths,.

"I think a person who supplies illegal drugs to a person that kills them is committing an act of violence," David Hickton, U.S. attorney for the Western District of Pennsylvania, said. "It’s no different than a person who shoots somebody with a gun."

However, not everyone agrees.

"You want the labels of what criminals have done to give people some kind of idea of what crime they’ve committed," Douglas Husak, a legal-philosophy professor at Rutgers University, told The Washington Post. 

"You don’t want to call somebody a rapist if what he did was grope somebody. I’m not condoning groping, but you’ve misrepresented what he’s done. To call people who sell heroin 'murderers' seems to distort what they’ve done. Call it like it is — they are drug dealers."

Sources: WAFB, The Washington PostThe Advocate / Photo Credit: East Baton Rouge Parish Sheriff's Office via WAFB

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