Teens failed to get help for friend who died from heroin overdose

Teens failed to get help for friend who died from heroin overdose

Teens failed to get help for friend who died from heroin overdose


Two teens testified they were worried when their 17-year-old friend, Christine Sheesley, lay unconscious in a Girard apartment after injecting heroin, but failed to seek medical help for her.

“I just thought she’d wake up,” Alexis Hugel, 18, of Girard, testified in Trumbull County Common Pleas Court during the second day of the trial of James L. Patterson, 27, of Youngstown.

Hugel, who was Sheesley’s best friend and knew her since kindergarten, said she hoped Sheesley wasn’t planning to do heroin that night, April 6, 2012. When Sheesley and Tyler Stevens, now 20, decided to inject the drug, Hugel said she left Stevens’ apartment.

When she returned about 20 minutes later, about 9:30 p.m., Sheesley was unconscious, “slumped down” beside a recliner.

Hugel said she held onto Sheesley, trying to wake her, and later put a cold, wet towel on Sheesley’s head because Sheesley felt hot.

Over the next five or so hours, Hugel and Stevens talked to several people, including Patterson, who is accused of selling the drug to Stevens and Sheesley, trying to find out whether Sheesley was in any danger.

Over and over, everyone said Sheesley needed sleep and would be alright, they testified.

Stevens, wearing orange jail clothes because he’s also charged in Sheesley’s death, testified that he called Patterson to come back to the apartment around midnight.

“He looked at her, and he said she’d be alright,” Stevens said. “I was freaking out, punching myself, screaming.”

Stevens said he filled a small cup with water and threw it at Sheesley’s face, slapped her face a couple times and shook her.

Stevens also said he talked about whether Sheesley was going to be OK with Hugel and with his father, who came home around 2 a.m. and left again for work around 7 a.m.

Stevens and Hugel fell asleep around 3 a.m. and awoke again around 7 a.m., when Stevens’ father told him to call police. Stevens said he thought Sheesley was still alive because he heard “rattles.”

Patterson, of Division Street, is charged with involuntarily manslaughter and corrupting another with drugs in Sheesley’s death, as well as multiple counts of heroin trafficking and cocaine possession.

Read more in Wednesday’s Vindicator.

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