Fulton man pleads guilty to fatal heroin distribution

Two other overdoses from incident not fatal

Trevonn Lionel French, 36, Fulton, pleaded guilty last week in federal court to distributing heroin that resulted in the Jan. 9 death of Summer Bond, 28, Fulton.

French pleaded guilty before U.S. District Judge Nanette K. Laughrey at U.S. Western District Court in Jefferson City.

Under federal law, a conviction for distribution of heroin resulting in death carries a penalty of a mandatory minimum sentence of 20 years in federal prison without parole or up to life in federal prison without parole.

French and his attorney entered into a plea agreement with U.S. Attorney Beth Phillips. In the agreement, French admits that he distributed heroin to Bond that resulted in her death and that he also distributed heroin to her brother, Cody Smith, who also overdosed but did not die.

While at French’s residence, Smith injected the heroin and overdosed. French took Smith to the hospital.

French admitted that he provided Bond with the syringe containing what was left of the heroin that caused Smith’s overdose, along with an additional amount of heroin, to settle a $25 debt that he owed Bond from a previous narcotics transaction.

The plea agreement states French’s girlfriend, Rachel Hoteling, had earlier overdosed on the same heroin that Smith had used but was revived by friends.

The plea bargain entered into with federal prosecutors notes that because of his cooperation with law enforcement and prosecutors, French qualifies for a lower range penalty but not less than 20 years without parole.

When a judge later imposes the sentence, the plea agreement does not have to be observed. The plea agreement is only a recommendation by the prosecution, not an agreement with the judge on the sentence to be imposed.

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