Austintown woman pleads guilty to reckless homicide

YOUNGSTOWN — Johnise A. Burkley, 61, of Bexley Drive in Austintown, pleaded guilty Thursday in Mahoning County Common Pleas Court to reckless homicide, illegal manufacture of drugs and possession of criminal tools in the Oct. 15, 2021, overdose death of her boyfriend, Porter Stanford Jr., 59.

Mahoning County prosecutors are recommending that Burkley get four years in prison, but Burkley’s attorney, Jeff Kurz, is free to argue for less prison time at her sentencing, which is set for 1:30 p.m. Oct. 27. Judge Anthony Donofrio can also select a different sentence.

The reckless homicide and illegal manufacture of drugs charges each carry a possible prison sentence of three years. The possession of criminal tools carries a possible penalty of one year in prison.

Authorities said Burkley cooked crack cocaine for Stanford, but it turned out to be fentanyl, killing him. Burkley also overdosed, but survived.

Burkley was charged with several additional offenses, but those were dismissed in exchange for her guilty pleas.

She cried throughout the hearing.

The case was investigated by the Austintown Police Department.



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