BARRE – A Granite City man has been sentenced to 6 to 6½ years for selling heroin to a Barre woman who overdosed and died in March 2018.

Shawn Fordham, 27, pleaded guilty Tuesday in Washington County criminal court in Barre to felony counts of escape and selling a regulated drug with death resulting. Fordham is currently housed at Northern State Correctional Facility in Newport.

Detective Joel Pierce, of the Barre City police, said in his affidavit for the drug conviction an overdose death was reported on Averill Street March 1, 2018. Pierce said the woman, Kristina Gauthier, 33, was pronounced dead at the scene. He said she had a white glassine bag in her hand which is typically used to store heroin and had drug paraphernalia around her including a syringe and a spoon.

Pierce said police located Gauthier’s cellphone under her body and the phone showed messages between Gauthier and Fordham. He said the messages showed Gauthier talking to Fordham about getting drugs from him.

Pierce received a tip that Fordham was staying at the Highgate Apartments, according to court records. He said he went there and saw what appeared to be Fordham selling drugs to people. He said he saw Fordham making exchanges with people at their vehicles and at the door of the apartment.

Pierce said the substance on the spoon found by Gauthier’s body was tested and was shown to contain heroin and fentanyl. An autopsy report showed Gauthier died as a result of overdosing on heroin, fentanyl and cocaine.

Pierce said the messages between Fordham and Gauthier showed she was messaging him about buying drugs shortly before she overdosed and died.

In court Tuesday, Fordham took full responsibility for Gauthier’s death and apologized. His attorney Andrew Schmidt read a statement Fordham had prepared.

“I can’t take this tragedy back,” Schmidt read.

Washington County State’s Attorney Rory Thibault said he hoped Fordham’s sentence would be a wake up call. Thibault said Fordham should use this opportunity to become a better person and live his life in Gauthier’s memory.

For the escape conviction, court records show Fordham was on furlough status, the strictest form of probation, in December 2017 on convictions of escape, impeding a public officer, possession of heroin and cocaine and violating conditions of release. According to the Department of Corrections Fordham had a GPS device attached to himself as part of his probation and he cut it off and left his approved residence.

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