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An Akron man was sentenced to eight years in prison in connection with the drug-related death of a pregnant Cuyahoga Falls woman.
Rashon A. E. Williams, 22, of Akron, pleaded guilty Feb. 7 in Summit County Common Pleas Court to two counts of involuntary manslaughter, first-degree felonies, and one count of trafficking in heroin, a fifth-degree felony.
These charges stem from an Aug. 4, 2016, incident in Cuyahoga Falls where police and EMS found Megan Carlson, 26 and pregnant, dead from an apparent drug overdose. One involuntary manslaughter count is for Ms. Carlson's death and the other is for causing the unlawful termination of the pregnancy.
Judge Christine Croce immediately handed down the eight-year prison sentence.
"This case is a horrible example and reminder of how deadly these street drugs have become," said Summit County Prosecutor Sherri Bevan Walsh. "While I am pleased to get one more drug dealer and his deadly poison off the street, I am saddened by this tragic and senseless loss of life."
Williams' attorney, Eddie Sipplen, told the Falls News-Press his client is "sincerely remorseful regarding the death of Megan Carlson and her unborn child [and] accepted responsibility. I too am saddened by the loss of the Carlson family. As the judge indicated, heroin is an epidemic, not only in Summit County, but also across the country."
Williams was arrested on Aug. 9, 2016, following the apparent fatal drug overdose and charged with corrupting another with drugs, a second-degree felony, and aggravated trafficking in drugs, a third-degree felony.
On Aug. 4, Cuyahoga Falls Police and EMS units responded to a call of an unresponsive female in the 1600 block of Union Street. Upon their arrival, they found a 26-year-old pregnant female who was deceased, according to a police department press release. The woman, identified as Carlson, was discovered by her mother inside the Union Street home, according to the police report.
Gary Guenther, chief investigator for the Summit County Medical Examiner's Office, said Ms. Carlson's death was ruled an accident caused by a drug overdose. Toxicology, he said, detected carfentanil, a fentanyl analog used to sedate large animals.
The Cuyahoga Falls Narcotics Unit initiated an investigation and developed a suspect who was believed to have been Carlson's narcotics dealer, according to the press release.
On Aug. 9, the Narcotics Unit sought assistance from the Summit County Drug Unit and the Akron Police Department in locating and apprehending the suspect. The suspect was located and after a short foot pursuit, he was apprehended in the 400 block of Chittenden Street in Akron.
The suspect was taken into custody and identified as Williams.
In an unrelated case, Williams also pleaded guilty to possession of cocaine, fifth-degree felony. In January of this year, while facing charges in connection with Carlson's death, Williams was arrested and charged with possession of cocaine.
Sipplen said there is a price to pay for one's actions, adding, "Low-level drug dealers are not the sole cause of the heroin problem. They are the low hanging fruit that prosecutors and law enforcement can present to the public in an effort to appease the public and say that they are addressing the heroin problem. More should be done to get to the high-level drug dealers (i.e. the ones who are bringing this poison to our community). To date I have not seen a high-level drug dealer prosecuted for dealing fentanyl-laced heroin."