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Woman gets 8 years in Huron County jail death

Jessica Cuffman • Aug 1, 2012 at 10:34 AM

A Fostoria woman will serve eight years in prison for smuggling pills into the Huron County jail that later caused another inmate to overdose.

Mindy Gallagher, 22, pleaded guilty to five felony charges Tuesday morning, including wreckless homicide for causing 20-year-old Jesika Skelton’s death.

The two had been cell mates on March 9, after Gallagher was placed in Skelton’s cell block.

When Gallagher first came into the jail, correctional officers placed her in segregation because she appeared to be under the influence. Though officers had searched Gallagher for drugs when Norwalk Police Department arrested her, they didn’t find any.

At Gallagher’s sentencing hearing Tuesday, Huron County prosecutor Russ Leffler said she’d managed to hid the prescription pills in a body cavity during her arrest and for the few days she was in segregation.

Then when she was put in the cell block, with nine other inmates, she passed them out to share.

Gallagher and all but one of the other inmates ingested the pills, a mix of Xanax and Oxycodone — a lethal mix for anyone whose body hasn’t built up a tolerance to opiates, highly addictive drugs with morphine-like effects.

In all, four of those inmates ended up in the hospital. Gallagher, a drug user with a tolerance, survived, Leffler said.

Skelton did not. She died two days after taking the pills.

Judge James Conway sentenced Gallagher to eight years in prison Tuesday, three years on the wreckless homicide charge, one year for theft of drugs, two years for bringing them into the jail.

He also sentenced her to one year each for two counts of aggravated trafficking in drugs — one charge for each of the other two inmates who overdosed on the pill combination.

At Tuesday’s hearing, Skelton’s family members, dressed in black T-shirts with her picture and “Boo’s Poem” written in pink on the back, asked Gallagher to see her jail sentence as a second chance.

For more on this story, pick up a copy of Wednesday’s Sandusky Register.

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