Jury deliberates charges against Youngstown man charged in overdose death

Jury deliberates charges against Youngstown man charged in overdose death

Jury deliberates charges against Youngstown man charged in overdose death


Jurors will resume deliberations Thursday on the guilt or innocence of James L. Patterson of Youngstown, charged with involuntary manslaughter, corrupting another with drugs and drug trafficking in the overdose death of Christina Sheesley, 17, of Girard.

The jury of six men and six women deliberated an hour Wednesday in the Trumbull County Common Pleas courtroom of Judge Ronald Rice.

Patterson is charged with a combination of offenses that hasn’t been indicted in Trumbull or Mahoning counties in recent years: Being a drug dealer whose actions led to the death of a customer.

A similar case was tried in Trumbull County in 1998 in which an inmate at Trumbull Correctional Institute was convicted of involuntary manslaughter and corrupting another with drugs for giving a lethal dose of heroin to a fellow inmate who died. Robert Bacsi, now 55, was sentenced to 18 years in prison.

Patterson, 28, of Division Street, didn’t testify or present any witnesses on his behalf. His attorney, James Lanzo, spent considerable time in closing arguments talking about Tyler Stevens, the other man charged in Sheesley’s death.

Lanzo became animated while recounting testimony given by and about Stevens, 20, who pleaded guilty to most of the same offenses Patterson is charged with. Stevens reached a plea agreement calling for five years in prison in exchange for his testimony.

Patterson could be sentenced to 30 years or more if convicted.

According to testimony, Sheesley went to the apartment Stevens shared with his father on Park Avenue in Girard April 6, 2012, to celebrate her birthday with heroin.

Stevens made a call to Patterson, and Patterson delivered the drug while Sheesley and her best friend, Alexis Hugel, 18, watched.

After Patterson left and Hugel took a 20-minute walk, Stevens “cooked” the heroin and injected it into himself and Sheesley.

When Hugel returned at about 9:30 p.m., Sheesley had fallen unconscious. She remained unconscious throughout the night and was found dead at about 9 a.m. the next morning after Stevens called police.

During the night, Stevens and Hugel attempted to wake Sheesley but could not.

Follow this case Thursday in The Vindicator and Vindy.com

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