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Fatal overdose leads to charges

Courtney Astolfi • Apr 17, 2014 at 9:49 AM

A Sandusky couple was arrested this week for their alleged roles in the June 2013 overdose death of a Perkins Township man.

Justin Posey, 24, of the 1500 block of McDonough St., was charged with complicity to commit involuntary manslaughter, corrupting another with drugs, five counts of drug trafficking and two counts of complicity to drug trafficking.

Sarah Spears, 29, also of the 1500 block of McDonough St., was charged with complicity to commit involuntary manslaughter, drug trafficking, complicity to commit drug trafficking, corrupting another with drugs and permitting drug abuse.

Zackary Slone, 24, was found dead in his Pioneer Trail home the morning of June 1. His roommate later told Perkins police that Slone was behaving erratically the night before, according to a police report.

After having a few drinks at Cheers, Slone and his roommate returned home. Slone then began disappearing into the bathroom for long stretches, emerging each time with an increasingly dazed look on his face, the report said.

Before she went to bed, Slone’s roommate and a friend carried a snoring Slone to the couch. By the time the roommate awoke the next morning, Slone had already died.

A coroner determined Slone died from combined drug toxicity due to a fatal cocktail of oxycodone, Xanax and alcohol. The amount of oxycodone alone in Slone’s blood was nearing toxic levels at the time of his death, the report said.

At the time, Perkins police Detective Joe Rotuno was already two weeks into a drug trafficking investigation involving Posey and Spears.

A criminal informant conducted multiple pill purchases with Posey, at least one with Spears and also a few times in which both were present.    

Two of those buys occurred within 1,000 feet of schools. In multiple deals, Spears brought her young children along for the ride, Rotuno said.

Then, a day or so after Slone’s overdose, Rotuno’s informant caught wind of his death. Knowing Slone was close with Spears and Posey, the informant told them of his demise.

“It must have been all the Zanny’s,” Posey said, according to the report. Spears was heard in the background, becoming increasingly upset.

Posey later told the informant he sold Slone 30 Xanax and three Percocet the night he died, Rotuno said.

Officers also obtained Slone’s cellphone records, which showed he texted Posey and inquired about buying pills, the report said.

Five days after Slone’s death, Rotuno fitted the informant with a wire. The informant again contacted Posey for another transaction.

During that conversation, Posey spoke about seeing Slone the day he died. He also said Slone contacted him at about 2:30 a.m. on the morning of his death, seeking more pills, but Slone never showed up.

Posey went on to say he felt awful and it wasn’t his fault because Slone was mixing drugs and alcohol.

“Posey states that he could catch a manslaughter charge for it” the report said.

Spears then joined the conversation. She allegedly spoke of Slone’s funeral and how she had lectured him about drinking and taking pills.

Rotuno presented the case last month to a grand jury, which indicted both Posey and Spears for their alleged involvement in the overdose. Posey was already in the Erie County jail on unrelated charges, so deputies served him his new charges there.

Rotuno said Posey tipped Spears off about her looming charges. Officers responded to Spears’ father’s Brandon Boulevard home Tuesday, but the man claimed Spears was not there, Rotuno said.

When he was confronted with the possibility of an obstruction charge, the father allowed officers inside. They found Spears hiding in a laundry room, Rotuno said.

Posey’s bond is $150,000 for the new charges, while Spears remains in jail on $115,000 bond.

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