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Plea expected in case related to overdose

Plea expected in case related to overdose

Prosecutors seek lengthier maximum possible sentence

ALBANY — A local man accused in a drug case that stemmed from a woman’s death in Schenectady is expected to enter a guilty plea when he returns to court later this week.
Federal prosecutors have also signaled in a filing that they intend to hold a hearing to increase the potential prison term for Ronald T. Showers because a death resulted from his conduct, a contention the defense is expected to dispute.
Prosecutors last summer won a federal indictment against Showers, charging him with possession of heroin with intent to distribute.
The charge stemmed from a Schenectady police investigation into a 19-year-old Schenectady woman’s death from a heroin-overdose in September of 2014. 
Showers, 41, of Schenectady and Albany, isn’t accused of causing the woman’s death, but the charges accuse him of possession of the heroin that may have led to her death, according to the federal complaint unsealed in July. 
The woman is not identified by name in the complaint filed last summer, only by her initials, age and city of residence.
Showers is scheduled to be in U.S. District Court Friday afternoon for a change of plea hearing. He has previously pleaded not guilty and remains in custody.
Showers was originally to appear last month, but his defense attorney, Brian Devane, requested more time to review the proceedings with his client, according to a filing by assistant U.S. Attorney Michael Barnett.
Barnett’s filing also indicated prosecutors intend to seek a lengthier maximum sentence; Showers currently faces a maximum of two years to two years, six months in prison. Prosecutors believe a harsher sentence is warranted because a death resulted from his conduct.
To boost the maximum possible sentence, prosecutors will have to hold a hearing before sentencing that would include witnesses and other evidence, according to Barnett’s filing.
Devane said Monday that his client intends to plead guilty to the charge in the indictment. Regarding the prosecution’s attempt to prove a death resulted, Devane said, “we will dispute that at the time of the hearing.”
According to the original complaint, filed in late June 2016 and later unsealed, Schenectady police investigating the woman’s death on Sept. 13, 2014, found seven pink packets containing heroin in her bedroom. A rubber band that held the packets together was found to have Showers’ DNA on it, the complaint said.
Investigators spoke briefly with Showers in January 2016. He denied involvement in the woman’s death and initially denied seeing her the day before she died.
Investigators interviewed Showers again later that month, and he admitted he was with her for part of the day before she died, but he said he did not provide her with heroin.
He also admitted he possessed rubber-banded heroin packets but hid them in the front passenger seat visor of her car; he planned to sell the packets. Showers allegedly told investigators the woman must have found the heroin, ingested it and died as a result.
The case followed one brought by federal prosecutors against a man in fall 2015 related to the October 2014 heroin overdose death of 30-year-old Katie-Lynn Scheidt, of Saratoga Springs.
In that case, Matthew P. Charo, 34, faces one count of distribution of a controlled substance with death resulting, a charge that directly links the distribution with Scheidt’s death.
Charo is accused of going with Scheidt by bus from Saratoga Springs to Schenectady in early October 2014 to find heroin for her.
Charo bought heroin, gave it to Scheidt, and she later died at her Saratoga Springs residence, according to court documents.
Family members have said Scheidt appeared to be doing the right things in her recovery from substance abuse, but she relapsed.
Trial in Charo’s case is set to begin in March.

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