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What you need to know for 12/11/2017

Saratoga Springs man enters plea in heroin overdose case

Saratoga Springs man enters plea in heroin overdose case

Likely sentence is 10 years
Saratoga Springs man enters plea in heroin overdose case
Katie-Lynn Scheidt, who died of a heroin overdose in 2014, is seen in a photograph from her brother's graduation.
Photographer: Provided

ALBANY — The man who prosecutors believe provided heroin that caused a Saratoga Springs woman's death could get 10 years in prison as part of a plea deal reached Monday.

Matthew Charo, 35, of Saratoga Springs, admitted, as part of the deal, to knowingly distributing heroin.

Sentencing is set for December. Though Charo entered the plea Monday, Judge Frederick Scullen Jr. said he must still review the case, including a pre-sentencing report, before Scullen formally decides to accept the plea and sentence.

Charo was accused of accompanying Saratoga Springs resident Katie-Lynn Scheidt, 30, from Saratoga to Schenectady in October 2014 and buying the heroin she later used. She subsequently died in her residence from an overdose, prosecutors said. 

Family members have said Scheidt appeared to be doing the right things in her recovery from substance abuse before she relapsed.

Scheidt's father, Frederick Scheidt, said early Monday afternoon he was waiting to speak with prosecutors in detail about the proceedings before talking about the plea deal.

But, he said, "it's one step closer to conclusion."

Charo appeared in court Monday with his attorney, James Knox. He characterized himself in routine questioning by the judge as being a heroin addict since 2008.

Charo faced one count of distribution of a controlled substance with death resulting. He was arrested in October 2015 and remains in custody.

He formally pleaded guilty Monday to the distribution charge — not the death resulting count — as part of the plea deal. Trial had been set for next month.

The plea was unusual for a federal court agreement, in that it includes a specific term suggestion. Federal court pleas generally don't specify specific sentence lengths, other than maximums and minimums.

The FBI led the investigation with assistance from the state police Community Narcotics Enforcement Team.

CDTA surveillance video was used in the case.

Investigators obtained footage from Oct. 2, 2014, the night before Scheidt died, that showed her and Charo boarding a bus in Saratoga Springs at 6:02 p.m. Additional footage showed them getting off the bus in Schenectady at 7:08 p.m., according to court documents.

Scheidt then boarded a bus back to Saratoga Springs at 8:14 p.m. and arrived at her residence at about 9:45 p.m.

Investigators also cited cellphone records and the woman's food stamp EBT card. Cellphone records showed the phone used by Charo was also used to check the balance on the woman's food stamp card prior to her returning to Saratoga Springs.

A 2002 Saratoga Springs High School graduate, Scheidt turned 30 in April 2014. 

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