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Victim's mom: Justice would be same for heroin dealer's kids

Published: Fri, July 12, 2013 @ 12:09 a.m.

By Joe Gorman



Phylis Porter said true justice for her daughter, who died of a heroin overdose, is for Jamal Vaughn’s children to be taken from him in the same way.

Vaughn pleaded guilty to selling the drug that caused 22-year-old Jessica Porter’s death.

Speaking Thursday at the sentencing of Vaughn, 28, of Oak Lane, Phylis Porter said her daughter was robbed of her life, and Jessica’s family was robbed of her because of her death Feb. 14, 2012.

“There is no justice in this courtroom, but maybe someday someone like you will take your children away,” Phylis Porter said. “Then there will be justice.”

Sentencing was before Judge Lou D’Apolito of Mahoning County Common Pleas Court.

Vaughn was sentenced to 10 years in prison for involuntary manslaughter, 12 drug trafficking counts, an illegal gun possession charge and three drug possession charges — part of five separate criminal cases beginning in 2011. He pleaded guilty to the charges June 10.

Vaughn also pleaded guilty to charges that he was selling cocaine and heroin on the East and South sides between April and December 2011. Assistant Prosecutor Martin Desmond said that in one of the cases, officers serving a search warrant after arresting Vaughn found stolen guns and computers and other electronic equipment. He said those items were stolen by people to either sell for cash to pay for their drug habit or to trade for drugs.

Desmond said at least twice while Vaughn was out on bond, he was arrested again on drug trafficking charges, and one of those times was when Jessica Porter received the overdose of heroin that killed her.

Desmond said she went to Vaughn’s home with her boyfriend and injected herself with heroin. When she became ill, instead of calling for help, Vaughn ushered her away, Desmond said.

“He simply grabbed her, threw her in the car and said ‘get her out of here,’” Desmond said. She died later at the hospital, Desmond said.

Desmond was recommending a sentence of between 12 and 15 years because of Vaughn’s lengthy criminal record of selling drugs and to send a message that drug dealers will be held accountable if the people they sell drugs to die.

“ happen,’” Desmond said.

Tom Zena, Vaughn’s attorney, said a sentence of seven years was appropriate. He said none of the offenses his client pleaded to was violent, and none of the guns police found at Vaughn’s home was used by him. He urged Judge D’Apolito to focus on sentencing Vaughn rather than sending messages to other people.

Vaughn apologized and said circumstances led him to a life of dealing drugs. When Judge D’Apolito asked him what circumstances, Vaughn said he was one of seven children whose father was in prison. He said he spent a lot of time on the streets around people who were selling drugs, and he decided to do it.

“My mentality was this is what they’re doing, so I wanted to do it,” Vaughn said.

Judge D’Apolito said others have come from poorer circumstances, and they do not sell drugs or break the law so it was no excuse.

Phylis Porter said her family has been shattered since her daughter died. She said she understood that her daughter made the choice to take the drugs that led to her death, but it was a choice that took her life and cost her 3-year-old daughter a mother.


1janeyblue(227 comments)posted 2 years, 9 months ago

Heroin was plentiful when I was growing up in the 70's. So were other drugs,pot,pills,speed. It was all around,even in the schools. But I made the choice not to do any of this crap. My parents put the fear of God in me. They knew who I was with,where I was at all times. They were parents. They cared,and yes it was tough.strict,yes. I had no interest in getting high or tripping or any of that. Why? Because I was taught about drugs and what they do to you by my parents.
Maybe if this mother had talked to her daughter as a teen,took an interest in her friends the young lady would still be alive. She needs to be a part of the blame here. Not completely,but partly. She needs counseling for her anger and bitterness. How sad that he wishes the dealers children dead. I hope she gets help and soon. This is a terrible burden to carry the rest of one's life. Think of what the three year old grandaughter and her future.

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2cheybaby2(102 comments)posted 2 years, 9 months ago

I think ALL D R U G dealers should be held accountable No exceptions or excuses. As a Parent You Try & Try to Keep your Kids from Trash Like That But There Friends Play a Huge Role In getting Them To Try Drugs & alcohol. . Back In the 60's & 70's A lot of Kids Died From Heroin, In the 2000 Heroin is Still Killing As Well as C R A C K ...I had trouble with my Son & drugs, He has Been Clean a long time now. But You Can Preach till your Blue In the Face, Try To Keep Them From The Low Lifes, Bad Influenced People from School. But Id Never Wish a Drug Dealers Children Dead, But I think they should never see there kids again.Adopt them out of State. Never to see there kids again. This Drug Dealer Should of got LIFE PLUS.......... .

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3jfgiancola(177 comments)posted 2 years, 9 months ago

Drug dealers wouldn't be in business if there was no demand. As long as there are people stupid enough to use drugs there will people to supply them. This country is too easy on the drug problem. Drug dealers should be executed. Anyone caught with or under the influence of drugs should be given one chance to clean up. If they can't, then life in prison. And bring back chain gangs. These people need to do some work, not lifting weights, getting educated or just loafing. Incarceration is supposed to be unpleasant. Don't do the crime if you can't do the time.

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4TB(1167 comments)posted 2 years, 9 months ago

A 22 Year Old Knows Right From Wrong. By No Means Am I Excusing The Actions Off A Criminal And Drug Dealer, But Wishing Death On Innocent Children Is Flat Out Wrong.

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5mommaof2(25 comments)posted 2 years, 9 months ago

Wow...I really do feel for this mother. I couldn't imagine losing a child. But to wish the same to this scum's innocent children is just wrong. Those kids have nothing to do with what happened. I hope she is able to find comfort in her life after this tragedy. TB - I agree that at 22 you do know right from wrong and are an adult....free to make the decisions you want. I would also never excuse the dealer, without him/her perhaps this lady would still be alive, but perhaps not...another dealer would probably just step in place. Sad all around.

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6kensgirl(1036 comments)posted 2 years, 9 months ago

JANEYBLUE - Your ignorance is OVERWHELMING!!!!! Did it ever occur to you that most parents DO tell their kids not to do drugs but the choices their children make are sometimes beyond the control of the parent. I have MANY friends who have talked to their kids extensively about drugs but their kids still make the wrong choices. And after the chold reaches age 18 the parent can no longer interfere in their child's life. HIPPA etc. prevents this. I know doctors, attorneys and nurses who have children addicted to drugs. It's not these parent's fault - it's poor decision making on behalf of the child. This POS that dealt the heroin to her needs put away for a long time. He doesn't deserve to have children of his own. I sympathize with the mother who lost her daughter. I'm sure she had many talks about drugs with her. People make their own choices. EDUCATE yourself Janey. Your venomous tongue may get you in trouble one day.

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7walter_sobchak(2587 comments)posted 2 years, 9 months ago

While this is a tragedy, Porter does not desire justice, she desires vengeance. However, her daughter injected herself with a substance bought from a questionable character so she is culpable in her own death. Is there any possibility that this situation will end in a good way? I agree with janeyblue! I grew up at the same time and maybe it scared the bejesus out of me because I did not do those things. I definitely knew that doing illegal drugs could only hurt me; it can never help me. As I asked my kids, "what makes you think that you will be the first person that drugs has not destroyed?"

As long as there is a demand, there will always be a supply. In order to reduce the problem, you must diminish the demand.

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8steelwagon(284 comments)posted 2 years, 9 months ago

Please folks don't be to hard on this mother.
She's deep in the grieving process and speaking with the emotions of a parent who's trying to cope with the loss of her child.

As a parent who lost a son to a drug overdose I can tell you that's it's totally devastating and turns your world, emotions and thought process upside down for a long time.

My wife and I both preached the dangers and the evil of drugs to both our children.
One listened but the other didn't.
At age 25 as our son was no parent can patrol what their children do 24/7 nor do they have a legal right to do so.

I truly don't believe this grieving,hurting mother wishes the death on the dope dealers children.
but I do agree with her that 'Justice wasn't found in that court room"

This man with his long criminal history should have been behind bars and not free to be out selling his poison on the streets.
And yes you can argue that if the young lady didn't buy the dope that killed her from him she would have bought it from another dealer and that's exactly why a harsh message needs to be sent to all drug dealers with long very uncomfortable prison sentences.

I strongly favor the work farm system and earned recreaction time.
Prison shouldn't be old home week or a social club.
And we don't need to spend billions building new prisons when we can recommission old navy ships,put them out at sea and make the inmates responsible for the care and upkeep of their home.

Those ships were the living quarters for many brave men and women who served our country with honor.
Those ships housed a few thousand people at a time.
If those ships were good enough for them to live on they're certainly good enough for those who break the law and contribute nothing to society.

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9RoyH(38 comments)posted 2 years, 9 months ago

sad story

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10outoftownbutstillaround(16 comments)posted 2 years, 9 months ago

The woman who overdosed was 22 years old. She made a poor decision and paid the ultimate price. It is a shame that her life was cut short, but blaming it on the drug dealer is childish.

It is bad enough that personal drug use equals criminal behavior in our society. Now we want those that supply drugs to be held responsible for another's behavior! You may want to blame the dealer, but you know he didn't force her to do anything.

If I binge drink, pass out, suffocate and die...does Budweiser deserve justice?

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111970mach1(1005 comments)posted 2 years, 9 months ago

“There is no justice in this courtroom, but maybe someday someone like you will take your children away,” Phylis Porter said. “Then there will be justice.”

What a disgusting thing to wish on some innocent kids regardless of who their parent is.

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12Truentity24(1 comment)posted 2 years, 9 months ago

My name is Angela Porter. Jessica IS my sister, with a beautiful everlasting soul. She was beautiful, in every way. It was too difficult for me to be present at this sentencing. My family is devastated and our hearts are in pieces. My perspective on life is forever changed and I will never be the same again. I devoted so much of my life to help and support my struggling family any way I could. First I want to say that there are many statements that are inaccurate. Jessica did not know how to inject heroin herself, it was done for her..she was actively attending meetings and had been trying very hard to turn her life around. With that being said I would like to comment on my mothers behalf. As you should know, you shouldn't believe everything you read or hear and the media has a way or manipulating statements and stories for ratings as attention. My mom prepared a letter, making herself sick on a daily basis, dreading this day. The news story does not include the whole statement. This is what follows in the victims statement letter...

" i said that i said -but that wuld make me a person like u which im not. no parent shuld lose a child. evr. i pray 4 ur soul."

She did not wish death upon his children. The news has a standard way of manipulating and bending the truth. Please think twice before spewing hate and passing judgement upon a family who is grieving and suffering. We are hurting enough. Our lives will never be the same. But we will hold our heads up high and keep Jessica's memory alive.

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