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Man pleads no contest in drug overdose case



Published: Thu, July 21, 2005 @ 12:00 a.m.



A 16-year-old girl died of irreversible brain damage a day after using the drug.

PITTSBURGH (AP) -- A man who sold the drug Ecstasy to a teenage girl who died of an overdose pleaded no contest to drug charges.

Gregory D. Ludwig, of Beaver County, sold three $20 tablets to three girls who took them at the X-Fest, an all-day rock concert in Burgettstown, in May 2001. One of the girls, Brandy French, 16, died of irreversible brain damage the next day as a result of a drug overdose, the coroner ruled.

Ludwig, 23, pleaded no contest Wednesday to charges of drug delivery, possession and possession with intent to deliver.

Ludwig had also been charged with third-degree murder, but Allegheny County Judge Jeffrey Manning dismissed the charge.

Allegheny County District Attorney Stephen Zappala appealed, but in May, the state Supreme Court upheld Judge Manning in a 4-3 ruling, saying prosecutors failed to prove malice, defined as "wickedness, hardness, cruelty, recklessness and disregard of social duty."

Judge Manning had also ruled the 1998 statute that criminalized drug delivery resulting in death was unconstitutional, but the high court reversed him and said the law meets constitutional muster.

Victim

Brandy, a sophomore at Ambridge Area High School, weighed less than 100 pounds and had not taken Ecstasy before the night of the concert. After she took the drug, she suffered a headache, she vomited repeatedly and experienced difficulty breathing.

Donald French sued four of her friends and a friend's mother, alleging they failed to seek medical care for her after she became unresponsive. The lawsuit was later resolved without going to trial.

Copyright 2005 Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.




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